Social Media Fights Colon Cancer
American Cancer Society Uses Two Social Media Campaigns to Start March Colorectal Cancer Discussion
New York, NY (March 6, 2012) - This March, the American Cancer Society will debut two social media campaigns to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and screening for the disease. The first, Tag2Nag, asks Facebook users to “tag” others in a series of memes, or cultural ideas, featuring information and messages about colorectal cancer. The second, Family PLZ!, provides online tools to help the public search and share their family history of colorectal cancer with their doctor and loved ones.
“Our screening recommendations for colorectal cancer haven’t changed: get screened starting at age 50; potentially earlier if you have a family history. But what has changed is how we share and spread that message,” said Alvaro Carrascal, Senior Vice President of Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey. “Using social media platforms allows us to put potentially lifesaving information and communication tools into people’s hands, right when they are having online conversations with family and friends.”
Tag2Nag encourages Facebook users to tag parents, relatives and friends age 50 and older in a variety of colorectal cancer themed images posted on facebook.com/cancernynj. Although the person tagged believes they are about to view a photo in which they appear, they are instead brought to a meme urging them to get screened for colorectal cancer. For example, one meme shows an image of an Etch-a-Sketch and asks, “Was this your version of a tablet? Then it may be time to get screened for colorectal cancer.”
Tag2Nag was introduced as a pilot campaign in New York and New Jersey in March 2011, generating 33,000 meme impressions and growing the American Cancer Society of New York & New Jersey’s Facebook fan base by nearly 12% in the month-long duration of the campaign. In November 2011, Tag2Nag was awarded by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable in November 2011 for “Best Attention Getting Strategy” and in August 2011 was featured on Mashable.com as an effective use of Internet memes by a non-profit.
About Family PLZ!:
In addition to reminding the public to get screened for colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society is spreading another potentially lifesaving message this March: learn your family history of colorectal cancer and share it with your doctor.
The Family PLZ! campaign, developed by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (of which the Society is a founding member) provides tools to help you search and share your family history of colorectal cancer with your doctor and loved ones. The campaign encourages younger generations to participate in the discussions. Visit www.familyplz.org for more information.
About colorectal cancer:
An estimated 143, 460 cases of colorectal cancer are expected to occur in 2012, but there are steps you can take every day to stay well and reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults maintain a healthy weight by being physically active and eating a well-balanced diet. Limiting the amount of alcohol and limiting intake of processed and red meats are also steps you can take every day to reduce your risk of this disease.
Screening for colorectal cancer has been proven to reduce deaths from the disease both by decreasing the number of people who are diagnosed with it and by finding a higher proportion of cancers at early, more treatable stages. Overall, colorectal cancer death rates have declined rapidly in both men and women in the past two decades, due in part to early detection and removal of precancerous polyps. However, only half of the U.S. population aged 50 and older have been tested.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.