Harnessing Digital Videos to Promote Cancer Prevention and Education: a Systematic Review of the Literature from 2013–2018

  • Nicholas Acuna
  • Ismary Vento
  • Luis Alzate-Duque
  • Pamela ValeraEmail author


Social media has transformed the way cancer patients search for information about their chronic health problems. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify the use of online digital videos to increase cancer knowledge and to understand information preference, behavioral changes, and attitudes towards online cancer education videos. The databases used for this review included MedLine, PsychINFO, and PubMed. These medical databases were used to locate peer-reviewed academic journals from 2013–2018 using the following MeSH terms: “cancer education videos,” “cancer prevention videos,” and “cancer education digital videos.” A total of 4996 articles were retrieved from the initial search, and 33 articles were reviewed. Articles were excluded if videos did not (1) focus on cancer education and prevention; (2) posted on an online platform; and (3) assessed participants’ knowledge, attitude, or beliefs about cancer. Eleven articles were found to meet inclusion criteria for final review. All of the studies focused on increasing education on preventive health behaviors (i.e., sunscreen use, smoking, and diet) and/or early detection strategies (i.e., screening testing and/or self-skin exams). While online digital health videos have the potential to improve health outcomes, issues related to technology access and health literacy must be considered when developing online health education videos.


Cancer Oncology Cancer education Digital videos Digital education 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey 2017 New Investigator Award (P30CA072720) and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (K22CA197066) to Dr. Pamela Valera.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Health Justice LabRutgers University School of Public HealthNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyRutgers University School of Public HealthPiscatawayUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Behavior, Society and PolicyRutgers University School of Public HealthPiscatawayUSA
  4. 4.Department of Urban-Global Public HealthRutgers University School of Public HealthNewarkUSA
  5. 5.Rutgers New Jersey Medical SchoolNewarkUSA

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