The Role of Social Media in Cancer Recovery
Geer, Kristin M.
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This study investigates the role of social media during cancer treatment and recovery. Qualitative research methods were used, which included semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 20 cancer survivors. Findings indicate cancer patients are motivated to use social media as a therapeutic tool for coping and managing emotions during their illness. Cancer patients use both social networking sites and blog sites during treatment and recovery, but prefer to use blog posts to discuss their illness. Data shows cancer patients use social media to seek and share information with family and friends, other cancer patients, and even health care providers. Further, participants report positive benefits from social media conversations about faith and spirituality during their illness. Results also suggest social media use during illness can lead to posttraumatic growth in cancer survivors, leading to deeper meaning and understanding. This study has implications for future patients, patient caregivers, health care providers, communication practitioners, and cancer organizations. Future cancer communication campaigns should seek to promote the use of social media by cancer patients to improve their quality of life.