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Let's Discuss: Using New/Social Media for Cancer Control

Content on this page is provided for reference purposes only. It is no longer maintained and may now be outdated.

When we issued our Call for Abstracts this summer, we hoped we would identify a few cancer control programs who were using new and social media platforms in innovative ways.  We were overwhelmed by the number and breadth of the abstracts we received and therefore decided to hold a two-part cyber-seminar series.

This month, we featured two diverse applications. Deborah Vollmer Dahlke discussed the iOS application for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors (ages 15-39), to assess their health habits using a theory-based interactive tool that includes a BMI calculator . Dr. Versie Johnson-Mallard demonstrated how the virtual environment Second Life (SL) was used as an educational intervention to increase the knowledge of HPV. Thank you to everyone who joined the seminar and especially to our wonderful speakers who shared the exciting resources that their organizations have worked on. 

But we know there are lots of others doing great work in this area too and we would love to hear from you and have you share your experience and knowledge...ask a question of the speakers or your fellow R2R members. Let us know what new and social media tools you are using in your cancer control efforts. What lessons have you learned that others might benefit from?  

Join us in the discussion! 

If you would like to request a PDF copy of the slides from the seminar, please use the contact us link at the bottom of the page or email researchtoreality@mail.nih.gov.

If you missed the live seminar, the archive will be available approximately one week following the live session.  Watch and then come share your thoughts.  


Posts/Comments

Tuesday’s thought provoking

Tuesday’s thought provoking cyber-seminar, Using New/Social Media for Cancer Control, focused on web and mobile platforms for education and research. Our discussants responded to a rousing discussion on mobile applications and websites in their fields of work and in part, spoke to the future of apps and websites as tools for cancer control and prevention. Strong linkages can be made to the social media advances being explored and launched by the National Cancer Institute, specifically in relation to www.smokefree.gov. Smokefree.gov is an NCI project that along with offering resources and information, some of which are tailored resources for teens, women, and in Spanish, on the web offers a mobile application on the iOS and android platforms to help users quit smoking. More information on QuitSTART is available here.

Our discussion of social media tools seems particularly poignant today due to the efforts the American Cancer Society has made on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to recognize their Great American Smokeout. An annual event, held on the third Thursday of November, encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quite, or plan to quit—if only for the day. Quitting helps smokers take an important step toward healthier selves and as an effort to potentially reduce cancer risks. This year’s Smokeout is utilizing social media in several innovate ways. They have created banners to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to celebrate quitters and their supporters. They have also scheduled a TwitterChat using the hashtag #quitforgood to get the discussion started.

With over 40,000 mHealth apps in the AppleApp store alone, we’d like to hear how mobile health apps figure into your work. Have you used or developed mHealth apps and if so, how?  Are you more inclined to turn to social media outlets for information or to share and connect with others in your field? Let us know and do mark your calendars for the second in our two part series on New/Social Media for Cancer Control in January 2014!

Finding Cancer Resources in

Finding Cancer Resources in Hard-to-Reach Areas

The North Central Florida region is predominantly rural, and we have found that navigation of cancer resources has been difficult for our residents. Smartphone interventions have not been viable in areas will little or no cell phone reception. The internet is utilized at community centers and libraries, but it is vast and daunting to people who do not use it often. To address this issue, the North Central Florida Cancer Control Collaborative (NCFCCC) created the online Cancer Resource Guide of North Central Florida, www.CancerResourceGuideNCF.org

The Cancer Resource Guide of North Central Florida was created to be a central location for cancer-related resources and information specific to our region. Information in the Guide ranges from support groups, community and caregiver resources, financial support services and tobacco cessation activities throughout the North Central Florida area.

What is unique about the Guide is that it exists as a real-time online database, meaning the listings in the Guide are constantly updated by its users. This platform allows for limited personnel time to maintain the Guide, as well as more accurate and up-to-date listings as it is moderated by listing owners. The Guide can also be downloaded and shared as an electronic file or can be printed and distributed among members of the community.

To get the word out about the Guide to the populations we serve, we engaged in traditional marketing strategies including direct mail and handouts. We’ve also included informational cards about the Guide in health facilities around the region that our rural populations frequent, such as health departments, community health centers and safety-net health care facilities. As a result of our collaboration and outreach, the model for the Guide has proven to be a valuable resource for people affected by cancer in the North Central Florida area.

Though the Guide has proven to be a useful tool for the rural communities we serve, getting cancer information to these hard-to-reach areas proves to be on ongoing challenge. The NCFCCC has devoted the majority of its time and resources to this distinct issue, and are constantly seeking new and unique ways to effectively reach our population. What techniques and strategies are proving to be effective in engaging hard-to-reach populations that are absent of Smartphone technologies in your community?