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Social media and mobile health technology for cancer screening: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
  1. Arlinda Ruco1,2,
  2. Fahima Dossa3,
  3. Jill Tinmouth2,4,5,
  4. Diego Llovet2,5,
  5. Teruko Kishibe6,
  6. Nancy N Baxter MD PhD1,7
  1. 1 Department of Surgery, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4 Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5 Prevention and Cancer Control, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario), Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6 Scotiabank Health Sciences Library, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7 Department of Surgery; Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nancy N Baxter; BaxterN{at}


Introduction Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally and many jurisdictions have developed population-based cancer screening programmes to reduce the public health burden of disease. However, screening participation remains suboptimal. Social media and other mobile health (mHealth) technologies are increasingly being used for health promotion and behaviour change. This paper reports on the protocol for a systematic review exploring the effect of social media and other mHealth interventions on cancer screening participation and intention.

Methods and analysis This protocol is reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) checklist. We will include any randomised controlled trials or quasi-experimental studies with a pre/post design conducted in adults ≥18 years of age that report on the effectiveness of a social media or mHealth intervention on screening participation or intention (inclusive of breast, cervical, colorectal, prostate and lung cancer). Interventions will be inclusive of those delivered online or through a computer using an established social media platform or a new purpose-built platform, or those delivered through cellphones or other wireless technologies. Any comparator will be acceptable (control group, alternate intervention or pre/post design). We will search Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Scopus, CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Communication and Mass Media Complete from 1 January 2000 to 31 May 2019. Two independent reviewers will screen titles, abstracts and full-text articles with conflicts resolved through discussion or by a third reviewer, as needed. The two reviewers will also independently complete risk of bias assessments for each included study. We will report on the characteristics of the studies, participants and interventions in descriptive narrative form and report the absolute and relative differences in screening and intention attributable to social media and mobile technology interventions.

Ethics and dissemination As this is a systematic review, ethical approval for conduct of this study is not required. We will pursue publication of study results in a relevant peer-reviewed journal and report our findings according to the PRISMA checklist.

Trial registration number CRD42019139615.

  • public health
  • protocols & guidelines
  • health services administration & management

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors All authors (AR, FD, JT, DL, TK, NNB) contributed substantially to the design and conception of the study. AR and NNB conceived the initial study and all authors (AR, FD, JT, DL, TK, NNB) contributed to the development of the study protocol and inclusion criteria. TK developed the search strategy with input from all other authors (AR, FD, JT, DL, NNB). All authors (AR, FD, JT, DL, TK, NNB) drafted the manuscript and revised it critically for important intellectual content, approved the final submission and agree to be held accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant numbers FDN – 148470 and GSO – 157853.

  • Disclaimer The funding agency had no role in the development of the study protocol.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

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