When you’re in the right time, at the right place, with the right idea good things can happen.
That’s how we feel about #BCSM - breast cancer social media - where we hold open discussions on breast cancer treatment and survivorship for an hour every Monday night on Twitter.
The question leading to #BCSM was simple: how can we use the incredible potential of social media to help empower women with breast cancer during and beyond treatment?
That was the first discussion Alicia Staley and I had after becoming acquainted on Twitter early in 2011. We are both cancer survivors, epatient advocates, and fans of the well-respected #HCSM (health care social media) chat moderated by Dana M. Lewis, the health and digital strategist blazing new trails out of Seattle. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were headed in the same direction.
Why isn’t someone doing this for cancer, we asked each other?
It was clear what needed to happen. There was absolutely no reason why social media, and especially Twitter, could not be effectively used for cancer advocacy issues.
While other physicians and academics debated how health care could even be discussed in social media and patients were warned to “be careful with research on the internet” two important facts didn’t budge. The internet was not going anywhere. Either was cancer. This year some 290,000 women will be told they have breast cancer in the US alone. The need for #BCSM was clear. The project was on.
We purposely chose a holiday to kick-off #BCSM. We really weren’t sure how many might come. Were we surprised. More than 90 people attended our inaugural chat on July 4, 2011 and started chatting immediately about this simple question: “why are you here? what do you hope to learn, share or gain?” Dr. Deanna Attai started following #BCSM on the second chat. By October she was clearly part of the team.
Since the first chat, we’ve held over 100 hours worth of dedicated conversation about breast cancer, from the myths about mammograms and metastatic disease to imaging a “what if health care….” conversation of equitable care for all. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of issues that need addressing.
Join us on Twitter every Monday. Search for the #BCSM hashtag. A transcript of each conversation always follows the chat.
You can follow us on twitter at: @BCSMChat.
~Jody, #BCSM Community Founder
Disclaimer: #BCSM is not a forum for medical advice. We strive to present evidence-based information about breast cancer. The experience of those participating on the chat are not endorsements. Questions directed to any physician or health care professional participating about your personal health is discouraged.