The Social Oncology Project


How does social media and digital communication impact everyday life? The folks over at MDigitalLife and WCG not only ask this question, but they also gather data, analyze data, and draw conclusions from them. Earlier this year, they worked with Kaiser to present some of this data in the "American Voices: Aligned For Health" project. The slides AND audio are below along with a youtube video with me and social media superstars Kevin Pho & David Harlow. 

In a report published today called "The Social Oncology Project," they analyzed multiple platforms of digital communication including 13.6 million tweets, 640,000 forum posts, and 285,000 blog posts over a one year period. Also check out this post by co-author Brian Reed. Here are some conclusions that were found:

  • Among cancer types, breast cancer remains the most-discussed cancer type. This reflects heavy interest from the patient community
  • Cancer awareness months are rallying points online, driving measurable increases in online dialogue in most cancer types
  • Celebrities, more than research or clinical news, tend to create conversations online. Like awareness months, nearly every major cancer type has seen a spike in dialogue based on high-profile individual's experience with cancer.


There is a section of the report talking about physicians talking about cancer online. I'm proud to say that Family Physicians, more than other specialties, are well represented in their MDigitalLife database.

The report found that digital communication, like twitter, was aimed mostly at the general public for awareness purposes, as opposed to digital networking with other medical professionals. And who is mainly driving this public awareness? Family Physicians. How about that? (Do you hear that #FMRevolution)

There is a lot more data and analysis that you should check out, read, digest, and even consider writing your own blog post on. It's good stuff and I applaud MDigitalLife and WCG for their continuing work on this...

Addendum: Also check out our pal @Doctor_V and his take on this from the 33 Charts website...