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Using Google Trends to understand information-seeking behaviour about throat cancer

  • M Faoury (a1), T Upile (a1) and N Patel (a1)



Many people seek health information from internet sources. Understanding this behaviour can help inform healthcare delivery. This study aimed to review Google Trends as a method for investigating internet-based information-seeking behaviour related to throat cancer in terms of quantity, content and thematic analysis.


Data was collected using Google Trends. Normalised data was created using the search terms ‘throat cancer’, ‘cancer’, ‘HPV’, ‘laryngeal cancer’ and ‘head and neck cancer’. The search data was used to analyse the temporal and geographical interest pattern of these terms from 2004 to 2015.


Three important peaks in searches for ‘throat cancer’ were identified. The first and greatest increase in interest was in September 2010, and there were also peaks in June 2013 and in October 2011.


Internet-search analysis can provide an insight into the information-seeking behaviour of the public. Mass media can hugely affect this information-seeking behaviour. Possessing tools to investigate and understand information-seeking behaviour may be used to improve healthcare delivery.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr Morad Faoury, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK E-mail: Fax: 02380 333043


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Dr M Faoury takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Presented at the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists annual scientific meeting, 12 May 2017, London, UK.



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