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How conversations in awareness months identify cancer patient experiences

Breast and prostate cancer ribbons on a green background to visualize cancer patient experience.

Cancer awareness months don’t just offer fundraising opportunities and increased attention on conditions. They’re also a stimulus for cancer conversations, with stories encompassing everything from people wishing to learn about conditions through to cancer patients’ experiences.

Two of the most prominent awareness months focus on breast cancer and prostate cancer. The increased attention during these periods creates an uptick in cancer conversations. This discourse offers vital information for healthcare providers (HCPs) and charities looking to improve cancer patient experience.

However, extracting this information from the hundreds of thousands of words on these topics is a painstaking process… unless you have an AI-powered text analysis tool with a specialized healthcare lexicon at your disposal. Enter Relative Insight Medical.

To demonstrate how the tool empowers HCPs and health-focused nonprofits, Relative Insight used a social listening tool to gather conversations from 2023 breast and prostate cancer awareness months in both the US and UK. We uploaded these conversations, comprising more than 200,000 words, to the Relative Insight Medical platform.

Not only does this tool offer the standard comparative text analytics capabilities that are present in all Relative Insight’s solutions. The healthcare-specific platform analyzes and quantifies text data using an additional 33 specialized medical tags alongside Relative Insight’s existing range of topics, giving you a detailed picture into specific healthcare elements that overindex in text data.

Fascinatingly, in this example, these healthcare topics surfaced in conversations about one type of cancer, with the other framed in a less sector-specific way by audience.

Prostate cancer conversations are medically focused

Relative Insight Medical’s healthcare-specific topics exclusively appeared in discussions around prostate cancer. Our analysis of these conversations highlighted that people talk about this condition in a clinical, practical way.

Audiences referenced general ‘symptoms’ 3.1x more, such as ‘pain’ and ‘inflammation’, as well as talking about ‘hemic & immune system symptoms’ 5.2x more, particularly the words ‘blood’ and ‘immune’ – with the former focused on blood tests.

Brian, you’re not alone, I recommend you look at the PC UK site for information. I had a raised PSA blood test result last July. Subsequent MRI, biopsy, CT, bone scan and a further pet CT scan diagnosed T3b prostate cancer.

Social conversations surrounding prostate cancer awareness month were 1.7x more likely to highlight ‘treatment’ options. The word ‘surgical’ overindexed 10.6x more in these discussions, while health populations were also more likely to talk about ‘drugs’ and ‘therapy’.

Fascinating to look back at role of hormone treatment prior to radiotherapy. How trial evidence changes practice! Abiraterone another case in point.

Discussion around prostate cancer patient experience also had greater link to risk. Discourse on the condition used words relating to ‘danger’ 2.6x more, such as ‘threat’ and ‘lethal’. Audiences were also 2.1x more likely to talk about ‘risks’ relating to prostate cancer.

Don’t we need to reprioritize, and focus efforts on locally advanced/metastatic prostate cancer – cases of which really do need rapid diagnosis and treatment? If we can change targets for intermediate risk localized prostate cancer, we can focus on higher-risk cancers/tumours.

Using a specialized healthcare text analytics solution highlights that social conversations around prostate cancer feature medical language.

Breast cancer patient experience is a battle

In contrast, audiences used less medical-specific language when talking about breast cancer. Indeed, these conversations were framed around the theme of war rather than the language of medicine.

People used words relating to the topic of ‘bravery’ 11.9x more, including ‘brave’, ‘courage’ and ‘valiantly’. Their posts were more likely to feature words associated with conflict, such as ‘fight’ (5.6x), ‘battle’ (2.6x) and ‘survivor’ (10.0x). This suggests that breast cancer patient experience is viewed through the lens of personal conflict, rather than medical treatment.

I’m dedicating this month to my fighter, my mommy. 💕 My fighter battled this disease twice. She lost that second fight but she was strong! I won’t stop fighting her fight and the fight for others battling.

This more personal viewpoint explains why these conversations were more likely to focus on awareness. Audiences talking about breast cancer used the word ‘awareness’ 6.2x more and the phrase ‘raising awareness’ infinitely more — meaning prostate cancer conversations didn’t use this phrase at all.

It is a great day in terms of supporting women who have experienced breast cancer or are going through it at the moment, as well as raising awareness about the condition so that we can, hopefully, find a cure for it #litterwatch #nobraday #breastcancerawareness.

However, it appears that the breast cancer patient experience also involves a different type of fight: over insurance. Health populations used the word 4.5x more when discussing breast cancer, with many highlighting difficulties they or their loved ones have faced with claiming health insurance.

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month I want you all to know that after hours of calls between my insurance and an imaging company, I was quoted over $1000 for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasounds. My insurance will pay $160 of that. The American healthcare system is broken.

Specialist healthcare text analytics uncovers variation in discussions

Using Relative Insight Medical to analyze breast and prostate cancer conversations within their respective awareness months reveals very different mindsets when it comes to each condition.

Discussions around prostate cancer are practical. Health populations focus on diagnosis, treatment options, symptoms and the risks/danger of the condition. HCPs and charities looking to engage with this group should distil detail surrounding these areas, communicating frankly and in a matter-of-fact way.

Resonating with audiences related to breast cancer requires a different communication method. Breast cancer patient experience is seen through the lens of struggle. Nonprofits and HCPs need to reflect this metaphor when communicating with this group rather than using medical terminology — both for audiences fighting the condition itself or those raising awareness.

Our analysis also highlights that charities should focus on offering greater support to health populations with insurance, as this is an area causing serious concern to health populations.

Do you have healthcare-related text data that you’re struggling to analyze? Try Relative Insight Medical for free now to see what specialized healthcare text analysis can do for you.