Digital videos can be a vital source of cancer health education

Online health videos can be an important source of cancer education, according to Rutgers researchers. Their review, published in the Journal of Cancer Education, analyzed existing research to see how people got their knowledge about cancer and how educational videos they watched prompted behavior change.

This review demonstrates the benefit of using digital videos for cancer health education, ranging from cancer prevention to treatment. “

Nicholas Acuna, lead author of the article and recent graduate student of the Rutgers School of Public Health

Examining the literature from three major health databases of PubMed, MEDLINE and PsychINFO, the researchers focused on people’s knowledge of cancer, their preferred method of receiving information, and any changes in behavior. They found that people who watched digital videos online were better informed and better understood about cancer risk factors and screening procedures. They also found that YouTube was the preferred social media platform for watching these videos, on Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, they noted that there was an increase in behavioral changes such as skin self-inspections and that the likelihood of people seeking lung cancer screening increased after viewing digital videos online. .

This review noted that while many studies examining the use of digital video for cancer health education have shown an increase in a person’s knowledge about cancer, potential behavioral changes, and a preference for In digital videos, there was a lack of studies focused on diverse populations, despite the fact that participants in several of the studies identified primarily as non-Hispanic / Caucasian.

“By increasing access to cancer information using online platforms, we have the potential to reduce health literacy barriers and improve the health of underserved populations,” said Pamela Valera , study lead author, assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and associate member. from the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey.

According to Valera, 87% of adults who access health information online use their cellphones, where social media use is also the highest. “While digital health videos dealing with cancer can improve health and well-being, the direction we should start taking is to meet the needs of disadvantaged populations,” she said. “Videos are an inexpensive way to deliver a clear, cohesive message, and they allow viewers to continue or review at their own pace, making them especially effective for people with low levels of health literacy.”

Valera stressed the importance for people to research the source of video education to ensure the information is from a trusted source.


Journal reference:

Acuna, N., et al. (2019) Using digital videos to promote cancer prevention and education: a systematic review of the literature from 2013 to 2018. Journal of Cancer Education.

John C. Dent

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