Introduction and objective The purpose of this study is to better characterize at which point during the course of diagnosis and treatment of locally advanced prostate cancer the internet is utilized and to evaluate the search trends over time. Methods Monthly Google Trends data were collected from 2004 to 2021 for prostate cancer-specific terms. Temporal trends were analyzed by comparing average search volume indexes (aSVI) and analysis with joinpoint software of six-month percent change (6mPC). Chloropleths were created for geographic pattern comparisons. Results Search terms associated with interventions demonstrated the highest aSVI with terms such as "prostate biopsy" (aSVI: 33.59), "prostatectomy" (aSVI: 31.6), and "prostate radiation" (aSVI: 16.45). Terms associated with treatment side effects increased at a high rate with "radiation side effects" (21.4 6mPC, p<0.05) and "prostatectomy side effects" (14.4 6mPC, p<0.05). Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-related search terms demonstrated a strong positive trend on joinpoint analysis with search terms "What is PSA?" (8.9 6mPC, p<0.05), and "What is normal PSA?" (15.1, p<0.05). Geographic patterns demonstrated higher search volumes in regard to screening and diagnostic terms in the northeast, while the southern regions demonstrated relatively higher search volumes for treatment and interventions. Conclusions The internet continues to be a growing part of the dynamics of prostate cancer management with more men utilizing the internet each year to help understand their diagnosis. Specifically, we found that the internet is used more for searches pertaining to PSA, procedures, and interventions affecting the quality of life.
Cureus. 2023 Jul 31*** epublish ***
Jessica Kim, Anthony Brooks, Zachariah Taylor, Paulette Dreher, Gregory C McMahon
Emergency Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, USA., Urology, Main Line Health, Philadelphia, USA., Urology, MidLantic Urology, Wynnewood, USA.