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Comment & Response |

Association of Google Search Volume Index Peaks for Skin Cancer With Skin Cancer Awareness Month—Reply

Kyle T. Amber, MD1; Romi Bloom, BS2; Shasa Hu, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Dermatology, University of California Irvine Health Center, Irvine
2Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(1):113-114. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.3815.
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In Reply We thank Dr Kantor for his interest in our study.1 While we believe the American Academy of Dermatology’s May skin cancer awareness initiative is vital in improving outreach, its effect on population interest is less clear. Although the awareness initiative may provide a slight increase in Search Volume Index (SVI) at peak times, it is not clear it primarily drives searches.

Dr Kantor suggests October’s breast cancer awareness month as an example of the effect of awareness months on search volumes; however, we believe the 2 diseases and respective awareness months do not demonstrate the same relationship. Between 2010 and 2014, there was a sizeable peak in breast cancer searches mirroring those for “breast cancer awareness” and “breast cancer month.” Thereafter this increase in search volume quickly returned to baseline in November and December.2 Thus, breast cancer awareness month appears to have a significant causal relationship with searches for breast cancer as a whole.


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January 1, 2016
Jonathan Kantor, MD, MSCE, MA
1Department of Dermatology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia2Florida Center for Dermatology, PA, Saint Augustine
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(1):113. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.3814.
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