Chicago, IL– MDigitalLife (a division of the W20 Group) recently conducted an examination of specific cancer communities online. They researched the overall mentions of cancer, as well as specific discussions pertaining to prostate, lung, skin, pancreatic, and colon cancer. And they dove deep into how physicians are speaking publicly about these specific cancer segments. MDigitalLife’s findings reveal some meaningful similarities as well as differences within the social communities of different types of cancers.

Throughout 2014, US physicians tweeted cancer-related tweets over 138,000 times. Of the top 5 well-followed and highly-respected doctors on social, 4 of them were selected as “Featured Voices” for the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

One of the key findings from the 2015 Social Oncology Report is that hashtags are an extremely influential tool that provide the world of healthcare the opportunity to create centralized “hubs” for facilitating physician conversations. These hashtags and tweetchats are particularly useful in boosting conversations about cancer types that tend to rank lower in terms of awareness such as pancreatic cancer, a cancer that is the fourth-leading cause of cancer with a low five-year survival rate. Leveraging these tools during critical industry events such as ASCO can be a crucial driving force in information circulation.

“We know there are huge knowledge gaps, and we feel it’s our duty to try to close that. The satisfaction comes from seeing patients have their questions answered, become empowered, and then get to witness them mentoring and educating others. And the satisfaction from engagement with other physicians is seeing docs transition from being social media skeptics to the “ah-ha!” moment when they realize the value.”
-Dr. Deanna Attai, generator of more than 3.7k cancer related posts in 2014


There are plenty of skeptics that think that healthcare companies should have no part in social media. But this Social Oncology Project shows that people do wish to connect with pharmaceutical companies and physicians as long as they add value to the existing conversations.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.