Recap of October 24 #LCSM Chat
By Laronica Conway
During the October 24 chat, members of the #LCSM chat community participated in an hour-long brainstorming session about combining advocacy and social media to increase lung cancer awareness.
It was a fast exchange of great ideas and it was a great opportunity to hear from those who advocate for lung cancer on a daily basis. We’ve got a long way to go but we all agreed that it will take a grassroots effort to increase awareness and change the public’s perception of lung cancer. Hopefully, by changing the perception we can remove the stigma, increase funding for research and provide hope to lung cancer patients and their families.
Below is a quick recap of the chat. You can find the full transcript here, courtesy of Symplur.
Question 1: What are the most important messages we need to communicate to the public about lung cancer?
We discussed several key messages about lung cancer, but a clear message emerged early in the chat: everyone is at risk and anyone can get lung cancer. We also focused on some harsh, but significantly important stats: lung cancer is the number one cancer killer and it kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. And it doesn’t matter if a person smoked; no one deserves to die from lung cancer. Advocating early screening, educating about environmental risks and providing more information about symptoms are also vitally important messages we need to share with the public.
Question 2: How can we use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to raise lung cancer awareness?
Many of us spend a lot of time using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with friends, read the news or keep up with the latest fashion trends. But we could also use those sites to promote awareness and educate others about lung cancer. For some, using Facebook might be easier than Twitter or Instagram. Or, spending time on Google+, LinkedIn or Pinterest might make more sense for others. There are plenty of social media sites with a myriad of options in which to communicate significant messages. Regardless of the platform chosen, all efforts to educate about lung cancer need to be unified, using a strong, collective voice. It was also suggested that these efforts be visual, moving across all sites with the same direct messages. Everyone agreed that one good way to gain traction for these messages would be to recruit individuals in the media, journalists or other public figures, to help us tell our stories. These individuals should have direct access to the general public and have a stellar reputation for disclosing the truth and educating others about delicate and difficult subject matters.
Question 3: What can we do to stir media & business interest in Lung Cancer Awareness Month?
One way to increase awareness, especially during November, is to provide education and facts about lung cancer. Those participating in the chat agreed to compile a list of lung cancer facts and share a different fact every day in the month of November. We would ask the lung cancer community to use these facts on their social media platform of choice, ensuring concise and accurate message dissemination. Also, while sharing these facts we could also share more personal stories, which would put a “face” on the disease.
Many of us agreed to contact local and national media via Twitter and email (or whatever platform is easier) to share personal stories and facts and to encourage them to write articles during lung cancer awareness month. And it doesn’t just have to be national or local media; anyone with a blog or website could also help spread awareness about lung cancer. To make people aware we have to share. Share your stories and share the facts.
Now is the time to change people’s perception of lung cancer and lung cancer patients. We can do this if everyone does their part to share the facts and eliminate the stigma.