30 July 2015
A study published today in the Journal of Medical Internet Research demonstrated that breast cancer patients participating in an online support community based on twitter had increased knowledge and decreased anxiety regarding their condition.
The Breast Cancer Social Media (#BCSM) community was founded in 2011 by two breast cancer survivors. Weekly tweet chats are held on various topics related to breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. I have been co-moderating the chats since October 2011.
We decided to study the group because while the popularity had grown, we did not have any objective evidence regarding the effectiveness. While this was a small study with some limitations, it is one of the first to demonstrate that patients participating in an online support group actually benefit from participation. This demonstrates that participating in an online group may be a reasonable alternative to in-person support groups for some women.