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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota: Facebook Postings by Breast Cancer Patients Initially Surge, then Decline Over Time

A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health examined the posting behavior of breast cancer patients seeking support on Facebook and offers details on how — and possibly why — it changed over time.

The study was led by researcher Dr. Jude Mikal and appears in the journal Health Communication. The article is the third in a series of studies conducted by Dr. Mikal examining overall trends in posting by breast cancer patients and how Facebook friends respond

The researchers used a novel approach of analyzing 21,291 Facebook posts made by 30 breast cancer patients participating in the study. The posts occurred from a period between three months before breast cancer diagnosis to three months following completion of treatment for the disease. 

Results revealed that:

“The results are interesting because we saw that women were initially very active and engaging more in online communication, but with zero uptick in requests for help,” said Dr. Mikal. “The percentage of requests made by patients stayed 3 percent across the board as reported in our first study.”

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