Social Media and Our Cancer Care

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

In the past, when I heard social media and cancer treatment, I would have immediately thought about all of the high-powered promotions that I get all of the time trying to sell me on the latest and greatest program that someone is selling to “cure” cancer or to promote how you can keep from getting cancer or keep it from coming back. However, over the years, my thinking has completely changed but I never gave it much thought as to how and why until recently when I was contacted by Marie Ennis-O’Connor of Health Care Social Media about doing an interview for her Social Spotlight Series.

“I want to thank Marie Ennis-O’Connor for the opportunity that she provided to me for the sharing in her Social Spotlight series and especially for the insight that her experienced questioning has afforded to me by way of a very personal learning experience.”Barbara Jacoby

I first “met” Marie through her “Weekly Roundup” series on Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer where, as Editor, she compiles her collection of the best of the blog posts that she has read over the past week. However, as happens so often when I interact with someone else as I did with Marie in order to respond to the questions in her interview, I actually learned more about my own work in ways that I never before considered.

Every single person who creates a website and shares their posts on social media has had a very specific reason for creating their site. Most often, their purpose has evolved from something that they have discovered missing or mishandled in their own cancer treatment. This is something that I have learned from all of those with whom I have interacted over time and it is their individual expertise that has come to be the foundation for so many searching for help and information in determining their own treatment choices and what to do in preparation for and what to expect from such treatment.

While I understood my own purpose for my postings as my efforts to provide information and inspiration to support the cancer community, I never really thought about how and why I use each of the different social media platforms that I do for a particular reason to share out the written word. Nor did I understand why I have stayed away from the platforms that use verbal communications for my own sharing and for my own research. You can read my reasons in the interview itself, if you choose, but I do want to share the bottom line message that I received.

I believe that anyone who is sharing information through social media, especially in the healthcare community on issues such as those related to cancer, has a responsibility to their audience. With regard to written materials, articles curated from legitimate sources and editorial content shared from personal experiences and learning that is shared in a respectful and non-judgemental fashion are the only things that should be posted. And these postings should always only serve as the basis for further discussions in doctor/patient relationships and never as a recommendation of an action that a patient should undertake.

I have chosen not to engage in any podcasts, videos and/or other verbal communications wherein anything that I say and or suggest for consideration may be misunderstood and/or miscommunicated. But, I do believe in sharing such podcasts and videos, etc. through my social media networks from sources who have the qualifications, knowledge and expertise on a professional level to provide such information therein. So, I want to thank Marie Ennis-O’Connor for the opportunity that she provided to me for the sharing in her Social Spotlight series and especially for the insight that her experienced questioning has afforded to me by way of a very personal learning experience.