Introduction Institutional campaigns of prevention of skin cancer, strongly emphasise the importance of individual responsibility in the protection against excessive sun exposure and early identification of pre cancerous lesions. Despite the large investment of public resources, there are few studies that identify the topics most sought during the campaigns—which may indicate a collective motivation to change behaviour. The analysis of log files of qualified websites has become recently a simple way to estimate the collective demand for health information on internet.
Methods The Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA) website was selected by its popularity and volume of qualified information. We studied 4800 pages over 4 years (January 2006 to December 2009) by means of log analyser software. We estimated the access to skin cancer pages during November (month of two national campaigns concerning cancer prevention).
Results The pages about melanoma (epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment) consistently attracted the highest number of hits during the entire period (annual mean of 3200; 6127; 8785; and 10864 hits from 2006 to 2009, respectively). The highest peaks of interest were observed in November (during campaigns) with monthly mean of 5366; 8593; 11 977; and 13 496 hits. In contrast, the self skin exam—most accessed topic on prevention—had a much smaller number of hits: 1710; 2640; 3722; and 3197.
Conclusions Institutional campaigns can motivate the search for information about skin cancer, although this search has little focus on issues related to prevention or early detection.
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