Can Social Media Be Used as a Community-Building and Support Tool among Jewish Women Impacted by Breast and Ovarian Cancer? An Evidence-Based Observational Report

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Dec 28;10(1):51. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10010051.


About 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women carry a deleterious mutation in BRCA1/2 genes, predisposing them to hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC). Thus, efforts to prevent and control HBOC in the US must include sufficient outreach and education campaigns within and across the Jewish community. Social media (SM) is utilized in public health campaigns focused on cancer, but very little is known about the efficacy of those efforts when directed toward Jewish women at risk for ("previvors") and affected by ("survivors") HBOC. Here, we report on outcomes of a targeted SM campaign for this population, as led by a national not-for-profit HBOC advocacy organization. Mixed-methods data were obtained from n = 393 members of the community, including n = 20 key informants, and analyzed for engagement and satisfaction with its SM campaign and HBOC resources. Message recipients identified the SM campaign as helpful/meaningful (82%), of 'newsworthy' value (78%), and actionable/navigable (71%): interviews revealed that women were more likely to engage with SM if/when it featured stories relevant to their personal cancer experiences. SM is a valuable public health education tool to address the comprehensive cancer control and prevention needs of those previving and surviving with HBOC, including high-risk Jewish women.

Keywords: cancer; community networks; education; genetic predisposition to disease; social media; vulnerable populations.