Breast cancer patients use Twitter as a non-medical forum to share their experiences

IMAGE: This is Dr. Rodrigo Sánchez-Bayona of Clinica Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, Study author. view more 

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Credit: © European Society for Medical Oncology

Lugano-Munich, 12 October 2018 – Twitter is a place where many cancer patients go to share and discuss their experiences of the disease. This is the main finding of a recent exploratory study (1), to be presented at the ESMO 2018 Congress in Munich, which analysed the contents of over 6,000 tweets and retweets about breast cancer.

Social media today have become an echo chamber in which every societal issue is reverberated many times over – including cancer. Study author Dr. Rodrigo Sanchez-Bayona of Clinica Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, said: “Many of the patients we see in daily practice use social media to search for information about their disease, so, as care providers, we wanted to know what kind of content they find there. At the same time, the sheer volume of posts on Twitter represents a rich pool of data we can use to assess attitudes and discourses surrounding cancer.”

For this analysis, all tweets posted with the hashtag #BreastCancer over a seven-day period were collected and categorised according to their content, aim, user information and


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