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At this year’s ASCO meeting, thousands of abstracts were presented demonstrating both foundational and pioneering research that will no doubt advance our understanding of cancer.  However, we still don’t have a cure and there is more work to be done. Great scientists, companies and institutions are working every day to help discover new treatment approaches and pathways – from activating the body’s own immune cells to understanding how combination therapies could exponentially improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Over the years, W2O’s Social Oncology Project has profiled some of the most influential physicians, advocates and patients engaged in the oncology conversation online. The key finding in this year’s report was that while the conversation volume continues to grow, there have emerged clear communities that own the dialogue and serve as trusted resources for professionals and patients alike.  These influencers are responsible for helping us cut through the clutter of hashtags and facilitate productive discussion to drive the next breakthroughs in cancer.
The Cancer Research Institute is an organization founded on harnessing the immune system’s power to conquer all cancers. Their work helped to pave the way for one of the most foundational shifts we have seen in cancer treatment today – the field of immunotherapy.  However, their influence goes far beyond facilitating research: CRI was one of the 4 most-shared domains for both patients and advocates in the online cancer conversation this past year.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Jill O’DonnellTormey, chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs for CRI and ask her about the future of oncology research and the important role research plays across the oncology ecosystem – from physicians, advocates, patients and the company’s invested in this area.

What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing oncology research today? 

Advances in technology, as well as exponential growth in our fundamental understanding of human biology and cancer biology, have helped to accelerate research and discovery, enabling scientists to do much more, more quickly, than ever before. This has produced significant leaps in cancer treatment, particularly in the area of immunotherapy or immuno-oncology, and has initiated a shift toward personalized medicine based on individual patient profiles. But as the field achieves greater magnitudes of complexity and sophistication, the challenges increase. Scientists must wrestle with the bounty of opportunity, developing keen tools to help them prioritize research directions, so that from the near infinite number of possible therapeutic strategies that are emerging today, we pursue the ones that are most likely to produce the greatest benefit for cancer patients.

What role does the broader oncology community play in supporting cancer research?

Physicians, patients, advocates, and media understand the importance of research, particularly clinical research. Physicians who are treating patients understand that they’re able to do so thanks to advances made possible through research. And those who are conducting clinical trials are themselves integral to the research process. Patients, especially those whose cancers are unlikely to respond to standard treatments, look to research in hope that something new and untried might benefit them. And, of course, patients are essential to carrying out clinical research. Advocates help in many ways, such as encouraging their communities to seek out and participate in clinical trials, shaping broader research agendas to help meet unmet needs, and effecting policy changes to facilitate patient access to promising treatments. The media also play an important role, educating the public about advances in research, as well as the challenges involved in changing the cancer treatment paradigm.

What is one of the most successful collaborations you have seen in oncology research? 

Collaboration is a cornerstone of the Cancer Research Institute’s strategy to make immunotherapy an effective treatment option for all cancer patients. Our multi-year partnership with Stand Up To Cancer to co-fund the CRI-SU2C Cancer Immunology Translational Research Dream Team is one example of how CRI leverages its expertise in cancer immunotherapy and its fundraising power to speed the translation of laboratory discovery into novel cancer therapies and diagnostic tools. SU2C’s Dream Team model has demonstrated its power to bring diverse, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional researchers and supportive roles together and align them along a shared research mission. Our Dream Team united two of the most promising areas of cancer immunotherapy research today: checkpoint blockade and cellular therapy. Experts in these areas are working together to rapidly develop new treatments that harness not only the strengths of each therapeutic approach individually, but also the synergistic effects that can be produced through smart combination strategies. SU2C has applied this Dream Team model across different tumor types and patient demographic categories, and has done so in collaboration with many nonprofit partners. It’s a model that is to be commended.

What would you like to see media who follow oncology reporting on in cancer research?

The media could play a more direct role in advancing cancer research by featuring the nonprofit organizations that are making possible this research and the cancer treatment advances that result. Immunotherapy is one recent example, and one that is of course central to the Cancer Research Institute’s mission. Here we have a field of research that has garnered significant interest and enthusiasm thanks to some dramatic successes seen in treating patients. But, this is only the beginning, and a tremendous amount of research needs to be done if we are ever to realize the full potential of immunotherapy in more and eventually all types of cancer. Public support is the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations like CRI, and most of these organizations can’t afford expensive PR campaigns. Media are in a unique position to raise public awareness of the role of nonprofits and, hopefully, stimulate new interest in and support for these organizations so that they can continue carrying out their lifesaving work. Including the nonprofits in the story isn’t just good journalism; it’s also good corporate citizenship.

How will the future of cancer research help us better define the value a treatment or treatments can bring to patients? 

Value is a complex topic, especially when talking about patients’ lives. What’s the worth of an extra month, an extra year, an extra five years of life, or a complete cure that a treatment might give you? What’s the quality of life a patient will have during and after treatment, and how do you quantify the value of that? That’s an important topic of conversation and one that we believe needs to discussed among all the stakeholders: patients, physicians, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and patient advocacy organizations. The role of cancer research funding organizations like the Cancer Research Institute is to find the treatments in the first place. Our singular focus on funding the best science is the only thing that has enabled us to contribute so significantly to the body of knowledge that has made today’s treatment breakthroughs possible. Value isn’t within the scope of what research organizations do. But it is an issue that they can affect. Through smarter application of technology and knowledge, we can help to minimize the financial risks associated with drug development by creating treatments that convey optimal benefit on patients—that is to say, a return to a normal, long, cancer-free life. That’s the return on investment CRI seeks, and it’s one we can make possible with continued research.

Are you seeing blended interaction from different communities in oncology when it comes to oncology research and what impact has that had on advancing oncology research?

One of the most remarkable developments in oncology community interaction has been—at least for those who have been in academic research over the past several decades—the willingness that academic and industry entities now have to work together more closely. It’s a willingness borne of necessity, which itself springs from the increasingly complex and nuanced drug discovery and development landscape. Nonprofit organizations have found a new role in brokering relationships between academic and industry agents. CRI’s Clinical Accelerator is a perfect example of this. It harnesses the power of industry and academia to drive innovative clinical research that seeks to answer the most pressing scientific questions, while also delivering the most promising treatments to cancer patients. Speaking of patients, they and their advocates, have become much more proactive in inserting themselves into the clinical research process. The emergence of patient-centered outcomes research, which includes patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders in the process of planning clinical trials, is testament to the increasingly influential role the patient community plays in clinical research.

What’s next in cancer research?

There are many avenues of cancer research, but since my view skews to immunotherapy, I can share some thoughts on that. Much has been made (and deservedly so) of the remarkable clinical responses immunotherapy has produced in some patients. The question before us now is a simple one: why does this patient respond, but that one doesn’t, and what is different about them? To answer this, we will need to analyze tumor and blood samples to determine the biological mechanisms that influence patient response. This is already done in some medical research facilities, but it needs to be done everywhere. Tremendous hurdles stand in the way, but they aren’t insurmountable. Optimizing accuracy of assays that measure important biological variables associated with cancer treatment and patient response is one key hurdle that we must overcome. But even that is a small hurdle compared to the greater challenge of finding a way to get the scientific community (on both the academic as well as industry side) to embrace the power of Big Data and its potential to uncover untold new insights into the immunological control and cure of all cancers at the personalized level. Big Data only works when there’s data to be mined. Getting access to that data, especially data controlled by pharmaceutical companies, will require us to develop new incentives for data sharing. It’s an uphill climb, but it’s attainable, as long as we all remember the reason we’re doing this: to save more lives through the development of more effective cancer treatments.

Download The Social Oncology Project 2016 here.


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TSOP CoverDownload The Social Oncology Project 2015 here

Starting in 2013, my colleagues and I have published an annual report called The Social Oncology Project. The past two years, we have looked across all digital communications and surfaced literally millions of online conversations that mention cancer. The results were heady proof that there was substantial discussion about cancer happening online.

But as we thought about The Social Oncology Project 2015, we realized that aggregating millions of cancer conversations was a more empty exercise. Not all voices in the online ecosystem are the same, and merely surfing though a digital tidal wave of information, tallying mentions, taught us little about who was having those conversations.
This year, we tried a different tack. The first part of this year’s report focuses on one specific subset of the conversation: doctors. Through our MDigitalLife database, we know which conversations online are coming from verified, practicing physicians. And while medical professionals make up a minority of the online population, their voices carry particular resonance.
The second part of the report looks at the way that the physician community intersects with other communities we have begun to define: the patient community, the media community, industry and advocacy communities. That offers another level of richness and takes us further away from a focus on brute volume. It’s fascinating to note those individuals who have outsized impact on a given community and a margin impact on another. Take Naoto Ueno from MD Anderson: he’s a veritable online rockstar among his peers and digitally savvy patients, but he’s almost entirely off the radar of the media.
Understanding how information flows–or doesn’t flow–among these communities is critically important, especially to communicators. We live in a world of information overload, and we are using more and more filters, conscious and unconscious, to deal with that overload. The Social Oncology Project, for the first time, has begun to map out one of the most important filters of all: who we listen to and who we engage with. This is a crucial first step, and we hope that it will help to understand the most effective ways to communicate about public health.
We welcome your feedback.

Later this week, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting will kick off. Earlier in the month, research from W2O Group was published by ASCO, examining the use of social media by physicians. It’s an endeavor that will be extended later this week when we release our third Social Oncology Project report.

Our research found, unsurprisingly, that there is a lot of chatter by physicians about cancer on Twitter.

Nearly 140,000 tweets mentioned one of dozens of cancer-related keywords, and more than 5,000 physicians took part in this rolling, public dialogue. But we should be well past the point of being amazed that physicians are taking to social media; it’s a rare professional organization that doesn’t see Twitter use as a key tool to educate physicians and other doctors. For both practice management and public health, engagement on platforms such as Twitter can no longer be ignored.

But in looking deeper, we found that all voices are not equal in conversations about cancer. While those 5,000 doctors all tweeted at least once, there was an elite group of 19 who recorded more than 1,000 cancer-related tweets over the course of the year. That’s a milestone that is impressive, but almost baffling: these are, generally, in-demand oncologists with demanding day jobs. Where are they finding the time to dash off dozens of tweets a week?

So we asked. And here are the answers.

website_photo[1]DR. DEANNA ATTAI, Assistant clinical professor of surgery at UCLA, president of American Society of Breast Surgeons:

We know there are huge knowledge gaps and we feel it’s our duty of sorts to try to close that. I think also for me–and this accounts for the volume–is that my audience is both patients/public and docs, where many docs don’t interact much with the patient communities. It’s a real challenge as I do have my true day job (patient care) as well as my new job (ASBrS president) but I just think it serves too great a need (perhaps an inflated sense of worth?) to just let it go. There is satisfaction is seeing patients have their questions answered, become empowered, and then get to witness them mentoring and educating others. And the the satisfaction for MD engagement is seeing docs transition from being social media skeptics to the “ah ha” moment when they recognize the value.

ago1KktK[1]DR. MICHAEL FISCH, Medical director of medical oncology for AIM Specialty Health:

I find that I am able to use twitter as a way to find useful information that cuts across broad topics in oncology. For example, given my interest in cross-cutting oncology topics, how else might I expect to keep up on this array of information? Twitter allows me to harness my colleagues to guide me, through their mentions and retweets, to high-value articles and influential pieces in the lay press. Of course, there is some initial “activation energy” that it takes to learn any new thing (like a new kind of smartphone), but once you have the basics figured out, things get very efficient.

7c2b2cf6756ab7535e0184962d9f6bea[1]DR. JACK WEST, Medical oncologist and founder/president of cancer education nonprofit GRACE:

The main motivation sharing information is that this is the information that I appreciate getting from other people. I have learned a lot from tweets I’ve come across, I want to share the things that I think are of value to other people. There have been many practical benefits as well, such as developing relationships with various thought leaders in oncology through twitter, finding at least one of the board members for GRACE (Sally Church) via Twitter, and even ultimately being selected as web editor for JAMA Oncology largely because of my online presence. But at the end of the day, the primary motivation is just to share information that you would want to receive yourself. We want to be valuable contributors to our community, in this case an online cancer community.

To track what Drs. Attai, Fisch, West (and thousands of other oncologists) will be discussing on Twitter during #ASCO15, please subscribe to W2O Group’s “Complete Response” newsletter, delivered every morning of the conference. Complete Response will curate and package the tweets and links most-shared by the most important group of ASCO attendees: oncologists. 

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Third paragraph of release should read: …as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 51st Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 29 to June 2 (instead of …as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 50th Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 30 to June 3).

“These new data show that social media is mainstream for a large number of oncologists. Social media use by cancer patients and oncology physicians has moved beyond early adopters and is increasing at scientific meetings”

Tweet this

The corrected release reads:

NEW ANALYSIS OF CANCER-RELATED TWEETS SHOWS EMERGENCE OF PHYSICIAN ‘SUPERUSERS’

— More than 5,000 Doctors Generated 138,000 Tweets About Cancer in 2014; Data to be Featured by #ASCO15 –

Much of the conversation among physicians on Twitter about cancer is driven by a small number of doctors, according to a new analysis of digital behavior of U.S. physicians that found that the top 1 percent of physician Twitter users, by volume, contributed more than a third of all tweets about cancer during 2014.

Physicians in the United States generate nearly 400 tweets a day about cancer on average—some 138,000 over the course of a year—but scientific meetings and awareness months can meaningfully boost the volume of conversation by as much as eightfold.

The analysis, based on MDigitalLife’s database of verified U.S. doctors and their Twitter handles, will be included as a publication-only abstract as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 51st Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 29 to June 2.

“These results show two related trends. First, the pool of physicians talking about Twitter online is growing, with more than 5,000 different doctors entering the dialogue during 2014. Second, there is a smaller group of superusers who are driving much of the conversations,” said Greg Matthews, Managing Director, MDigitalLife, at W2O Group. “In that sense, the physician community mimics many other classic Internet communities, and it will be critical to understand how those digitally connected doctors impact the way that information flows to patients and other professionals.”

The analysis also found that tweets about breast cancer were more common than any other cancer type, representing more than 19 percent of all cancer-related tweets, followed by lung cancer (9 percent) and prostate cancer (7 percent).

“These new data show that social media is mainstream for a large number of oncologists. Social media use by cancer patients and oncology physicians has moved beyond early adopters and is increasing at scientific meetings,” said Michael Thompson, MD, PhD, a co-author on the research and a hematologist/oncologist for Aurora Cancer Care and Medical Director of Early Phase Cancer Research at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. “The next step will be to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of huge amounts of data to improve the efficiency of implementing new therapies in clinical practice.”

The analysis used W2O Group’s proprietary MDigitalLife database, the world’s first and only database that maps physicians’ digital properties to their official government registries. This ensures attribution of data (earned media and data such as Medicare billing, referral and prescription data) is accurate. The W2O Group uses this asset to aggregate and analyze millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes, behaviors and connections on any topic.

The use of social media has become an increasingly important topic among oncologists; the 2014 ASCO annual meeting included a presented titled “Appropriate Use of Social Media in Medical Practice,” which suggested social media use could help physicians “engage patients [and] lay public on key topics.”

The analysis of 2014 tweets was done by Brian Reid and his colleagues at W2O Group, including Matthews and Kayla Rodriguez, with the assistance of Thompson.

About MDigital Life

MDigitalLife reveals how physicians around the world are using digital and social media to improve the health of their patients, the success of their practice, and to regain their voice as a critical player in the health system. Digital communication tools have become increasingly important in the health system, yet little effort has been put into quantifying the type and volume of online conversations. MDigitalLife is the world’s first and only database that maps physicians’ digital properties to their official government registries. This allows the team to aggregate and analyze millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes and behaviors on any topic. Additionally, MDigitalLife has incorporated physician demographic data (e.g., medical school and graduation year) and clinical behavioral data (referrals, prescriptions and Medicare billings). For more information on MDigitalLife, please visit mdigitallife.com.

About W2O Group

Founded and led by Chairman and CEO Jim Weiss, W2O Group is an independent network of complementary marketing, communications, research and development firms focused on integrated business solutions to drive change and growth through “pragmatic disruption” for the world’s leading brands and organizations. W2O Group’s network includes WCG, Twist, BrewLife and W2O Ventures with 11 offices in the United States and Europe. For more information, please visit http://w2ogroup.com.

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In 1990, my grandfather was sixty. By those standards, and today’s, he was still a young man. He should have had plenty of life ahead of him. Birthdays to celebrate, weddings to attend, places to see. Unfortunately, a year earlier, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. After a hard fight, he would die in June of that year. I was only six at the time, but I remember feeling sad and wishing I had more time with him. However, I couldn’t understand the concept of cancer. I was barely aware of the concept of death.

As an adult, I know much more about cancer through my work with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. As a result, I’m well aware of the amazing progress they – along with academia, health care professionals, caregivers, advocacy groups and patients themselves – have made to extend the lives of cancer patients and alleviate tremendous suffering. And I am positive that had my grandfather been diagnosed in 2013, instead of 1990, much more could have been done to extend his life.

Why am I so confident? Because when it comes to progress in cancer, the evidence is overwhelmingly positive. Here are some highlights:

  • A cancer diagnosis used to almost exclusively be a death sentence. Today, according to the National Cancer Institute, nearly half of all cancer patients can expect to live for five or more years after their diagnosis
  • Testicular cancer was once immensely difficult to treat. Now, modern therapies can cure 95 percent of men who have the disease
  • Drugs that interfere with the action of tyrosine kinase, which enables the spread of lymphoma, can put the disease into remission
  • Targeted cancer therapies, part of the future of cancer treatments, can block the growth and spread of cancer by preventing the function of specific molecules that lead to tumor growth and progression. They can impact everything from melanoma to lung and ovarian cancers

Much of this progress has happened in less than 25 years, which in my view is a tremendously small timeframe to have achieved so much in so many distinct types of cancers. Yet for all the progress made, especially when it comes to innovative, efficient drugs, progress may have done more harm than good, based on a frightening report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences.

The report finds that cancer treatment – with its unlimited, ever-growing body of research and fast-changing guidelines – is so complicated that many U.S. physicians “can’t keep up with new information… are offering incorrect treatment, failing to explain options and leaving patients to coordinate their own care.” The IOM is calling cancer care a “system in crisis” due to growing demand for care, increased diagnoses, and a diminished oncology workforce.

Can it really be that despite amazing advances in science, we haven’t had more success translating science into great patient care? Remember, great patient care extends beyond great treatments, and I’d say the answer is clearly yes, patient care is suffering. The good news? I believe most of the areas where care is falling flat can be fixed through better communication.

Here are a few findings from the report that could be fixed with clear communication:

First: Patients want involvement in their treatment decisions. Over 60% said they want to know the risks associated with their decisions, and 50% said they want to know how much each option will cost them and their families

Physicians shouldn’t have to go it alone. For each cancer and patient, hospitals and treatment centers should work to assign a hospitalist or advocacy group that can dedicate time to a patient and provide a shoulder to lean on for difficult decisions.

Second: A majority (53%) of cancer diagnoses, and 68% of cancer deaths in 2012 were in patients aged 65 and older

The IOM has good suggestions here. Most importantly, coordinated, team-based cancer care can help patients make decisions consistent with their values. What they’ve left out is the need to ensure this information is easily digestible and repeated as much as is needed until patients and their families understand their options.

Third: The IOM projects there will be 18 million cancer survivors by 2022

What I didn’t see in the IOM report are suggestions for long-term psycho-social support. I’ve written about this before, but long-term cancer survivors (70% of patients now live for at least five years after diagnosis) and their caregivers, are about 25% more likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t have cancer. The medical system must adapt and think beyond a cancer cure to continued cancer care. Hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies that can partner together to provide this continued care will gain long-lasting trust from both survivors and their families.

I’m confident that we’ll continue making amazing progress in cancer treatments, but we can’t let that progress hinder the overall care that patients receive.

Beating cancer is awesome. What’s more awesome is that we’re seeing an increase in the amount of cancer patients winning their fight as we enter what I see as an incredibly promising period in cancer research and treatment.

Those who followed the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, and led conversations around it (see my colleagues Brian Reid and Greg Matthews work on how oncologists are getting social), are well aware of the inspiring work the oncology community is doing on behalf of cancer patients. From immunotherapy as a potential breakthrough in melanoma and other cancers to vinegar – yes, vinegar – for cervical cancer screening, cancer research will continue to decrease mortality rates for cancers.

All this progress, however, creates a new and welcome challenge. Long-term cancer survivors (70 percent of patients now live for at least five years after diagnosis) and their caregivers, are about 25 percent more likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t have cancer, and it can be a significant health concern ten years after diagnosis. Anxiety is also likely to last longer than depression.

These findings are the result of a meta-analysis (a combination and compilation of several previously reported studies (27) on 500,000 patients reporting on depression or anxiety in cancer patients) published last week in The Lancet Oncology.

Anxiety is a very understandable response to surviving cancer. It’s easy to see why someone who’s had cancer and is grateful to be alive still is anxious. Imagine waking up with a pain in your side, or a sore throat, or a stiff back, and wondering, hoping, praying, it’s not your cancer returning. In the case of caregivers, I imagine the fear they feel each time they take their husband, wife, father, mother, sister or brother to a routine physical and hope that it’s just that, routine.

This meta-analysis finds that that by 2020, the number of people diagnosed with cancer each year will exceed 21 million. If every person diagnosed with cancer has just one caregiver, we’re talking about 42 million people each year who will be dealing with cancer’s long-term effects. Yet this meta-analysis shows that once a patient is discharged from hospital care, they receive infrequent check-ups from the medical teams and minimal counseling.

As cancer care and survivorship improves, the medical system will need to adapt and think beyond a cancer cure to continued cancer care. Hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies that can partner together to provide this continued care will gain long-lasting trust from both survivors and their families. And that’s something to be thankful for.

P.S. Sunday is Father’s Day. I know that men (myself included) would prefer to have a tooth pulled than talk about our health. But sons (and daughters) owe it to dad to talk about health and whether they’ve taken steps lately to understand their risks for cancer and take action. Oh, and don’t forget to thank dad for all the great advice and “Dad jokes” he’s probably given you over the years. I’ll certainly be thanking mine.

About two weeks ago we launched The Social Oncology Project.  As that project (and subsequent report) came to life, our focus was on uncovering insights by analyzing the numbers.

While we found the data interesting, we wanted to go a step further and include expert opinions because we think the stories of how social media gets used are a critical component to understanding where these tools are headed.  With that in mind, we headed to Chicago to speak with physicians, advocates and industry representatives about their use of social media.  Here’s a look at some of the things we learned:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjIknF_2zAw[/youtube]

  1. While some are more timid than others when it comes to social media, physicians are not afraid to get online.  Many recognize that it is a powerful tool for monitoring/tracking conversations and, in fact, a certain percentage is actively engaged in their field of expertise AND outside their field of expertise.
  2. One of the biggest barriers to physician use of social media appears to be time constraints/ competing priorities in their daily routine.
  3. If you’re interested in ASCO, there are definitely some ‘must follow’ people on twitter – and @MaverickNY and @adamfeuerstein  came up more than a few times.
  4. Social media is playing a significant – and still growing – role in patient education.  We heard about patient resources, educational videos, and group forums being shared online by The PAN Foundation,  Johns Hopkins , and Malecare, respectively.
  5. When it comes to social media, the pharmaceutical industry has made great strides over the last several years.  However, the lack of industry guidelines cannot continue to be an excuse from engaging with patients through channels they are active on.
  6. In the future, the use of social media within healthcare will become the norm. As platforms such as twitter become second nature, they won’t be considered time consuming and some believe social media will make its way into medical school curriculum.

For more information about ASCO 2013, check out these posts by colleague Brian Reid and friend Geoff Curtis.

You can view the full Social Oncology report, interviews and media coverage here: www.wcgworld.com/mdigitallife

One of the key findings of the Social Oncology Report was that cancer conversations have become increasingly fragmented, specific and sophisticated. The number of journal articles posted to PubMed has increased 349% since 1999 – and the number of cancer-related conversations has exploded in similar fashion. As those cancer-specific conversations continue to grow, we wanted to take a closer look at the physicians who are driving them. This is the third in a series of posts on the subject, which hone in on conversations about breast cancer, gynecological cancers, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. You can see the first four, Doctors and Social Oncology: Trends in Physician ConversationsDoctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most active in leading online cancer conversationsDoctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most mentioned by their peers (skin cancer edition), and The MDs most mentioned by their peers (lung cancer edition) through the links above.

In our last post, we talked about the importance of physicians who are the most active in driving conversations about a topic area, because it isn’t just about health – or even cancer – anymore. Our healthcare conversations have become increasingly specialized and complex. Today, we’re going to go a level deeper and begin looking at which doctors are talked ABOUT the most – by their fellow MDs – in the context of a lung cancer. I’ve already sensed a little skepticism from some folks about the validity of this measurement – so let me tell you why I think it’s important.

Most of us are familiar with influence-rating tools like Klout or Kred. I think that, at some level, those tools have validity – but I don’t think that they are particularly sophisticated.  What’s much more interesting to me than knowing someone’s general, overall influence … is knowing how their peers see their influence on specific topics. And that’s what we’ll be looking at for the next few days. There’s still a level deeper to go, so stay with me – but for now, let me introduce the physicians who have been most-mentioned by other doctors on the subject of prostate cancer.

As you hover over the “Image Capsule” below, you can connect with links associated with each doctor & connect with them. Most importantly, the “Share” icon in the upper left can be used to share this capsule with any of your social networks or to embed it in your blog or web site.

For more information on the MDigitalLife Social Oncology project, please visit w.cg/tsop13. There, you’ll find the report itself, links to a series of expository blog posts, interviews with cancer experts from the #ASCO13 Annual Meeting, a full series of infographics like the one above, and media articles covering the study.

HUGE thanks to my W2O Group colleagues Rami Lazarus, Franco GalimbertiKayla RodriguezAlim LeungScott Kramer and Matt Snodgrass for contributing to these amazing image capsules.

One of the key findings of the Social Oncology Report was that cancer conversations have become increasingly fragmented, specific and sophisticated. The number of journal articles posted to PubMed has increased 349% since 1999 – and the number of cancer-related conversations has exploded in similar fashion. As those cancer-specific conversations continue to grow, we wanted to take a closer look at the physicians who are driving them. This is the third in a series of posts on the subject, which hone in on conversations about breast cancer, gynecological cancers, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. You can see the first two, Doctors and Social Oncology: Trends in Physician Conversations, and Doctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most active in leading online cancer conversations, through the links above.

In our last post, we talked about the importance of physicians who are the most active in driving conversations about a topic area. Today, we’re going to go a level deeper and begin looking at which doctors are talked ABOUT the most – by their fellow MDs – in the context of a certain topic area. I’ve already sensed a little skepticism from some folks about the validity of this measurement – so let me tell you why I think it’s important.

Most of us are familiar with influence-rating tools like Klout or Kred. I think that, at some level, those tools have validity – but I don’t think that they are particularly sophisticated.  What’s much more interesting to me than knowing someone’s general, overall influence … is knowing how their peers see their influence on specific topics. And that’s what we’ll be looking at for the next few days. There’s still a level deeper to go, so stay with me – but for now, let me introduce the physicians who have been most-mentioned by other doctors on the subject of skin cancer.

As you hover over the “Image Capsule” below, you can connect with links associated with each doctor & connect with them. Most importantly, the “Share” icon in the upper left can be used to share this capsule with any of your social networks or to embed it in your blog or web site.

For more information on the MDigitalLife Social Oncology project, please visit w.cg/tsop13. There, you’ll find the report itself, links to a series of expository blog posts, interviews with cancer experts from the #ASCO13 Annual Meeting, a full series of infographics like the one above, and media articles covering the study.

HUGE thanks to my W2O Group colleagues Rami Lazarus, Franco Galimberti, Kayla Rodriguez, Alim Leung, Scott Kramer and Matt Snodgrass for contributing to these amazing image capsules.