Pizza for Cancer Prevention? Mining Twitter for Popular Nutrition and Cancer Myths

I am not a cancer expert.canstockphoto6433880

So when I want to get a sense of the state of research related to nutrition and cancer I turn to resources like the AICR. But many people don’t know about such resources, and this is reflected in cancer knowledge. For instance, the AICR’s own survey found that 42% of Americans don’t think that a healthy diet can reduce cancer risk, and fewer are aware of associations with specific foods such as processed meat.

What resources are people visiting, and what are they talking about? One way to get a glimpse of this is to mine Twitter, which I did for the last couple weeks, collecting about 420,000 tweets containing the word “cancer”. From these, I used the list of terms and their derivatives from this AICR/WCRF report, along with other health related terms that I came up with (82 in total) to assemble a list of 14,585 tweets for analysis of the links being posted. Continue reading