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Use of social media for cancer prevention and early diagnosis: scoping review protocol
  1. Aradhna Kaushal1,
  2. Angelos P Kassianos2,
  3. Jessica Sheringham2,
  4. Jo Waller1,
  5. Christian von Wagner1
  1. 1Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aradhna Kaushal; aradhna.kaushal.14{at}


Introduction Social media platforms offer unique opportunities for health promotion messages focusing on cancer prevention and early diagnosis. However, there has been very little synthesis of the evaluation of such campaigns, limiting the ability to apply learning to the design of future social media campaigns. We aimed to provide a broad overview of the current research base on social media interventions for cancer prevention and early diagnosis, to identify knowledge gaps and to inform policy, practice and future research questions.

Methods We will use scoping review methodology to explore the available evidence on social media interventions for cancer prevention and early diagnosis, with a focus on methodological approaches. Quantitative and qualitative studies and reports will be identified through searching several research databases, through internet searching for grey literature and by screening the citations of studies included in the review. All identified studies will undergo independent title and abstract screening and full-text screening against inclusion and exclusion criteria. We plan to chart the data from included studies to record the characteristics of the social media interventions, resources, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact. Charted data will be collated and summarised using a narrative synthesis. The interpretation and implications of the findings will be enhanced by consultation with relevant stakeholders such as public health organisations, cancer charities, and patient and public involvement groups when preliminary results are available.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval is not required for this scoping review. The results will be used to identify research questions for future systematic reviews and to inform the development of future social media interventions. We will disseminate findings in peer-reviewed journals and at relevant conferences.

  • public health
  • social medicine
  • health policy

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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  • Twitter @aradhnakaushal, @angkassianos, @Jo_WallerKCL

  • Contributors AK, JS, JW and CvW conceptualised the project. AK, APK JS, JW, and CvW contributed to developing the research question, refining the study methodology and contributed meaningfully to the drafting and writing of the final protocol.

  • Funding This report presents independent research commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme, conducted through the Policy Research Unit in Cancer Awareness, Screening and Early Diagnosis (PR-PRU-1217–21601). JS is supported by the National NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North Thames at Barts Health NHS Trust.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Institute for Health Research, the Department of Health and Social Care or its arm's length bodies or other government departments.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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