Social media can get a bad reputation for being a time-suck or leading to unhealthy comparison. While that can be true, when we put the "social" back in social media, it can also be a wonderful way to connect with other breast cancer survivors nationwide and across the world. To more actively connect with others beyond just "liking" a photo, post, or tweet, try leaving a comment or sending a direct message to someone new. You never know what doors of friendship you could open.
Because one of the many possible side effects of cancer treatments is insomnia, some find scrolling through breast cancer social media posts a positive and encouraging way to pass the time during sleepless nights by connecting with others going through similar experiences. The upside of this is, you're bound to come across others you can connect with posting at any time of day, whether across the globe or fellow insomniacs in your own time zone.
Popular hashtags used in the breast cancer community are #bcsm (for breast cancer social media - read more below), #bcww (for breast cancer world wide), and #mydensitymatters (spreading the word about the role breast tissue density plays in detecting breast cancer). These are all great places to start if you want to join the conversation. And SurvivingBreastCancer.org has our own active social media accounts if you're looking for more ways to connect with our community!
Breast Cancer Social Media (bcsm.org)
What started in 2011 as a hashtag on Twitter, #BCSM has grown into a full organization to support and connect the breast cancer community. The hashtag itself is still widely used across multiple social media platforms (primarily Twitter and Instagram) to connect and share stories. While content using the hashtag can be found at any time, there is a designated tweetchat every Monday evening for an hour beginning at 9 pm Eastern / 8 pm Central / 6 pm Pacific on Twitter. You can find tips on how to participate here. Read More.
Breast Cancer on Social Media: A Quali-quantitative Study on the Credibility and Content Type of the Most Shared News Stories (Biomed Central Women's Health)
As many of us have seen, social media unfortunately can allow misinformation on any topic to spread quickly. A 2021 study aimed to analyze how much misinformation about breast cancer is posted on social media and how quickly that misinformation spreads. Good news, the study found that most social media content relating to breast cancer focused more on sharing "real-life stories" and showing solidarity with the community rather than sharing healthcare specific information, accurate or not. Read More.
Use of Social Media in Breast Cancer Awareness: Gulf Cooperation Council Countries’ Experience (Journal of Global Oncology)
In addition to connecting with fellow survivors (and their support systems), social media has also been found to be a successful platform for spreading awareness. This 2018 study found that "media have been used to raise breast cancer awareness to promote breast cancer screening programs including self-exam and mammogram, benefits of early detection, and modifiable risk factors." Read More.
Know Your Density (My Density Matters)
My Density Matters is an organization that promotes the importance of knowing your breast tissue density. Breasts are made up of two main types of tissue: glandular, which is dense, and fatty, which is not dense. The proportion of those two in your breast will determine your breast density. The denser the tissue, the more difficult it is to see cancer on mammograms. By knowing your breast density, you can select the best screening method for you. The organization uses #mydensitymatters on Twitter to get the word out about this important topic. Read More.