Why does connecting on social media matter to you?
I’m an academic physician, and my job includes not just clinical care but also research and teaching. Social media significantly expands the number of patients and health care providers I can reach, and it allows a less formal interaction that goes beyond the clinic, wards and classroom. Helping breast cancer patients and providers get the latest news from meetings and publications, along with some interpretation and context and immediate feedback, is a big part of how and why I use social media.
Are you able to counsel patients online?
Patients sometimes ask for very specific advice, which is hard to give without knowing the whole clinical picture. When asked for recommendations and/or references in a broader sense, I’m happy to help. You’ll frequently see me tweeting about the importance of healthy lifestyles (physical activity, nutrition and maintaining a good body weight) in breast cancer survivorship – with the evidence to back it!
What are your responsibilities beyond the patients you see in your office?
I frequently give talks and webinars for patients, locally and internationally. I’m a professor of global health, so I connect with breast cancer patients around the globe. Social media is a great way to stay in touch with survivors half-way around the world. We started a group called WE CAN (the Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network) to help support the leaders of women’s cancer non-profits in low and middle resource settings. Our 7th Eastern Europe/Central Asia WE CAN conference will be in Romania in October, and our 4th East Africa WE CAN conference will be in Kenya next Spring. I also co-founded a group called Team Survivor Northwest in Seattle in 1995 to help women cancer survivors from our whole region get physical activity into their lives – we’re still going strong 20 years later. I’m going to climb Mt. St. Helens with them next month.
In breast cancer, we’re lucky to have many other excellent informational websites, including:
Susan G. Komen
Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Young Survival Coalition
Metastatic Breast Cancer Network
Dr. Julie Gralow is the Jill Bennett Endowed Professor of Breast Medical Oncology and Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a Member of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is Director of Breast Medical Oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She is actively involved in clinical care, education, and research, and is the PI on numerous local and national clinical trials related to breast cancer treatment, prevention, and survivorship. Her area of research specialization is the relationship between breast cancer and the bone. Dr. Gralow is SWOG Executive Officer for Breast and Lung Cancer. She is currently a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) International Affairs Committee, the ASCO Global Oncology Task Force, and the ASCO Breast Cancer Advisory Guideline Group. She received an ASCO Statesman Award in 2008, was elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 2008, and received the Seattle Business Magazine Leaders in Healthcare Achievement in Community Outreach Award in 2014. Dr. Gralow is committed to improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients through education, exercise and diet, and to promoting breast cancer awareness in the community. She is Medical Director and Team Physician for Team Survivor Northwest, aimed at helping female cancer survivors improve their health through fitness and exercise. She is also founder of the Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN), a group dedicated to empowering women cancer patient advocates in low and middle income countries. Follow her on Twitter: @jrgralow.