What do we search on? Matters of life and death

The terms “pregnancy” and “cancer” were the two most frequently searched health terms in February, receiving 8.8 million and 7.7 million search queries respectively according to comScore. Which can lead us to 2 conclusions and 2 theories.  I think you can separate the 2 terms into two camps and 2 distinct demographics. The first demo is a younger generation that is worried about and curious as to what pregnancy is about, what it entails and what to expect. The next demo, is our aging boomers. They are as concerned about death as they are about prolonging life.  Think about it. Pregnancy and cancer are really, life and death. One is something you think about as you enter into the world as an adult, the other is what you are concerned with as you try to stay on this earth as an adult. As morbid as that may seem, it’s true. It’s as black and white as 2 distinct topics can be in regards to one’s health.

As you venture into looking at other search terms, you can easily track what time of year it is, what state the economy is in and how those things affect your health. Health terms that were frequently searched in February include “flu” (1.8 million) which would make sense, since that is the height, generally of the flu season; and depression also (1.8 million). Depression it seems,  occurs as we fall into the long winter nights and misery that accompanies winter and perceived or real economic hardship. The next most searched health issues were diabetes (1.7 million) and addiction (1.4 million). Though not much can be said about diabetes being a surprise, since poor eating habits and lack of any physical excersize can ceratinly contribute to this, which America is definitely guilty of, it’s good to see that it is getting the attention that it needs. Addiction is the dirty little secret that permeates every family throughout the US. Everyone knows someone who is an addict, is a friend of a friend, or has a family member who is or was. A sad fact, but definitely makes sense in regards to search.

 Interestingly, “Pregnancy,” is searched 17 times more often than the most popularly searched prescription brand name, “Chantix.” The second most searched term “cancer” had 1 million queries specific to the term “breast cancer.”

“It’s not too surprising that some of the most common health conditions, such as diabetes, depression and flu, have made the list, but it’s interesting that these terms generate fewer searches than significantly less prevalent conditions like cancer and pregnancy,” said Carolina Petrini, comScore senior vice president.

“A reason for this may be due to life-changing nature of a cancer diagnosis or a pregnancy.”  Life changing…

Most Commonly Searched Health Conditions
February 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Search Term                   Search Queries
Pregnancy                          8,841
Cancer                               7,718
Flu                                    1,824
Depression                        1,807
Diabetes                           1,758
Addiction                           1,407            
Herpes                              1,340
HIV                                     976
Anxiety                               910
Stroke                                872
HPV                                   861
Bipolar                                861
Cholesterol                          816
Headache                            763
Menopause                          667
Hepatitis                              614
Arthritis                               600
ADHD                                 573
Asthma                               569
Fibromyalgia                        551