Videos about prostate cancer screening on YouTube and TikTok do not provide quality health information, according to findings published in BJUI Compass.
Researchers found that none of the 100 videos analyzed contained both high-quality and accurate information. However, YouTube videos were significantly more likely to contain accurate or high-quality information.
For this study, researchers identified the top 50 videos about prostate cancer screening from YouTube and TikTok (on August 12, 2021) using a cookie-free, cache-cleared, incognito internet browser. The researchers evaluated these 100 videos for content, number of views, comments, likes, dislikes, shares, length, and publication date. Videos longer than 12 minutes were excluded.
The videos on YouTube had a median of 909 views (range, 12-221,003), 7 likes (range, 0-1000), and 0 comments (range, 0-148). Nearly half (46%) were published more than 5 years prior to the study date. The median video length was 3 minutes and 42 seconds (range, 30 seconds to 12:06 minutes).
The videos on TikTok had a median of 23,150 views (range, 640-13,900,000), 576 likes (range, 3-2,300,000), and 32 comments (range, 0-13,500). All were published within the last year of the study date. The median video length was 29 seconds (range, 10-49 seconds).
The videos were classified as educational (94% on YouTube and 56% on TikTok), raising awareness (4% and 8%, respectively), sharing a patient story (2% and 26%, respectively), or comedy (0% and 10%, respectively).
YouTube videos were significantly more likely than TikTok videos to discuss ethnic risk for prostate cancer based on American Urological Association or National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines (46% and 8%, respectively; P <.0001).
YouTube videos were also significantly more likely than TikTok videos to:
- Include specific recommendations for patients with a family history of prostate cancer (50% and 6%, respectively; P <.001)
- Include age-specific recommendations (54% vs 10%; P <.001)
- Discuss rectal examination (34% vs 14%; P =.019)
- Discuss prostate-specific antigen testing (96% vs 14%; P <.001)
- Discuss MRI screening (12% vs 0%; P =.012)
- Discuss prostate biopsy (10% vs 0%; P =.022)
- Discuss genomic testing (10% vs 0%; P =.022).
Quality and Accuracy
None of the videos on either platform contained both high-quality and accurate information.
However, YouTube videos were significantly more likely than TikTok videos to receive high-quality scores for individual components of the DISCERN criteria, including discussions of:
- The risks of prostate cancer screening (22% and 0%, respectively; P <.001)
- The benefits of prostate cancer screening (20% vs 0%; P <.001)
- The importance of shared decision-making (28% vs 0%; P <.001).
YouTube videos were also significantly more likely to contain high-quality information with regard to Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) understandability score (26% and 2%, respectively; P <.001) and actionability score (22% vs 0%; P <.001).
However, there was no significant difference between the platforms in the number of videos classified as high-quality overall.
YouTube videos were significantly more likely than TikTok videos to contain accurate information on screening guidelines (12% and 0%, respectively; P =.012). None of the TikTok videos cited a specific guideline, but 32% of YouTube videos did (P <.001).
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that none of the videos provided understandable, actionable, accurate, and high-quality consumer health information about prostate cancer screening.
“[G]iven the widespread use of social media by patients for health care information, we recommend a collaborative effort from the medical community to create high-quality content regarding prostate cancer screening that also represents those patients who are most at risk,” the researchers concluded.
Abramson M, Feiertag N, Javidi D, Babar M, Loeb S, Watts K. Accuracy of prostate cancer screening recommendations for high-risk populations on YouTube and TikTok. BJUI Compass. Published online November 8, 2022. doi:10.1002/bco2.200