The past year has seen a number of promising developments in oncology. Examples include Roche’s Gazyva, which was awarded Breakthrough Status by the FDA, as well as NICE’s historic decision to recommend Tamoxifen as a daily drug taken to prevent the onset of breast cancer. Additionally, in the UK, we have also seen a number of headlines related to future predictions of cancer rates and other oncology-related topics of public interest.

In preparation for our February webinar on HCP views of oncology and cancer care in the UK, we used used Creation Pinpoint to analyse the peculiarities of the UK oncology landscape, as reflected in relevant discussions taking place during the past year.

Some of the issues we set out to investigate include…

  1. What are the unique challenges faced by each group of healthcare professionals (nurses, doctors, specialist doctors, carers, and so on) in relation to cancer this year?
  2. What are the major overarching themes and concerns present in this year’s 18,000 conversations about cancer and oncology in the UK?
  3. How do healthcare professionals feel about new forms of treatment and novel drugs used to manage and treat the condition?
  4. How do partially-understood changes in the NHS affect conversation and attitudes around this space?
  5. Who are the most prominent online voices in the healthcare professional and healthcare organisation community in this space and what are they saying?

A HIGH-LEVEL VIEW OF THE UK CANCER LANDSCAPE

As we have often found with therapy area studies, mention volume in the HCP online community fluctuates from month to month, forming peaks and troughs throughout the year based on the level of interest and discussion around new drugs, studies and treatments.

The chart seen below maps out the volume of oncology and cancer related mentions during the past year, with a month by month breakdown, as well as showing the networks and websites that have been the most popular forums of discussion among healthcare professionals.

twitter oncology

Twitter remains a significant platform of medical topic related discussion amongst healthcare professionals, followed by forums and message boards.

Below is one example of Twitter being used to discuss treatment in a medical education context. Simon Scott, a Leicester-based HCP, debates the use of sepsis as a generic diagnosis term, comparing it to claiming that Tamoxifen is the only way to treat cancer. Not only was this tweet re-tweeted 5 times by other members of the healthcare community, but it also ignited a discussion around patient groups and medical studies.

 

tamoxifen1

Source: - https://twitter.com/gasdocscott/status/413270176327794688

Source: – https://twitter.com/gasdocscott/status/413270176327794688

As well as sharing direct links to them, HCPs often react to and comment on news stories they find relevant.

In the tweet below, Sean McGrath states that he anticipated the termination of the Rituxan phase three trial.

Source: https://twitter.com/sean_uk/statuses/325156028448657408

Source: https://twitter.com/sean_uk/statuses/325156028448657408

BEATING BREAST CANCER AND BOWEL CANCER

This year, breast cancer and bowel cancer were the types of cancer with the biggest online presence in HCP conversations. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, and bowel cancer is the fourth. The topic cloud below shows the predominance of the two types of cancers in HCP conversation, as well as other topics that are of interest to them.

wordcloud

Some examples of breast and bowel cancer related mentions among HCPs can be seen below:

London based HCP Chris Cross shares a link about an experimental metabolite of Tamoxifen that is being trialled successfully. Source: http://twitter.com/HIT_GURU/statuses/412287910226821120

London based HCP Chris Cross shares a link about an experimental metabolite of Tamoxifen that is being trialled successfully.
Source: http://twitter.com/HIT_GURU/statuses/412287910226821120

In the tweet below, Simon Radley, Birmingham-based consultant surgeon talks about Roche’s Avastin and its potential indication to treat bowel cancer in more elderly members of the population. This is re-tweeted twice and triggers a response from a patient who is in remission from bowel cancer.

Source: https://twitter.com/BowelDr/statuses/299444733741248512

Source: https://twitter.com/BowelDr/statuses/299444733741248512

In the next installment of our oncology study series, we will publish a preview of a high-level look at concerns among nurses, look at the most frequently used hashtags in this space, as well as other developments and stories which have prompted a reaction from the medical community.