Beyond Awareness: Understanding the Needs of the Breast Cancer Community

October has become synonymous with a sea of pink. Pink ribbons. Endless campaigns. An entire month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. But the drive shouldn’t end at awareness.

As humans, and brand marketers, it is critical that we understand the women in the breast cancer community (and their loved ones) in order to go beyond awareness and make a difference in their life and along their journey. What’s important to them? What resources do they turn to? What needs are not being met?

Communities are a valuable resource

According to data pulled from a Healthline 2017 “State of Cancer” survey, 50% of people living with breast cancer or their loved ones find cancer communities, including in-person, social media, chat rooms, blogs or forums, to be a valuable resource.

Communities are critical for sharing, learning, and understanding one’s journey

Overall, a majority of people living with breast cancer or their loved ones report that being part of a cancer support community has positively impacted their experience with cancer (84%).

  • Communities meet patient emotional & treatment-focused needs

    • 66% join a cancer support group to receive emotional support and inspiration
    • 61% join to share health experiences such as drug reactions, symptoms and therapies
  • Impact during treatment

    • 80% agree it helped them or their loved one to cope with fear and anxiety
    • 58% agree it inspired them or their loved one to seek a second opinion

Community engagement is enabled through apps

Community support is now easily attainable due to developments in technology, and the breast cancer community — especially metastatic breast cancer patients — is leaning into apps as part of their cancer journey. For many, it’s an immediate action.

Millennials are leading community involvement

Of all the generations, millennials (96%) are most likely to find that support groups empowered them or their loved ones to make more informed decisions compared to Gen Xers (75%) and boomers (75%).

And when it comes to community and chat apps, millennials are the first to take action, and take immediate action. This is notable, because we know that millennial behaviors are driving changes amongst other generations.

The study illuminates the critical role that support plays amongst the breast cancer community and opens the door to addressing the complex challenges facing people living with breast cancer and their loved ones.

Healthline has leveraged this breakthrough data to better serve this audience.

Healthline’s Breast Cancer app is rethinking social on mobile

Healthline’s Breast Cancer app offers the ability to connect with others who are going through the same journey they are. Through moderated listening, member needs are brought forward in group discussions and live group chats are tailored to address their needs, a real community feel that leads to one-to-one relationships, and some early results show great engagement.

“There’s not always time to stop during the day and go to a support group. If I am having a bad day I can just reach out to someone on the app and talk through it with them,” said Esther Carlos, a Breast Cancer Healthline member.

The Breast Cancer app has been featured twice by Apple in the Appstore under “New Apps we Love” since launch:

  • 6 visits per month per user
  • Average user spent 8:25 minutes in the app per day
  • Average user spent 30 minutes in the app per month

Interested in learning more? Send us an email at to find out how you can help serve the needs of the breast cancer community through the Breast Cancer app.

Source: Google Analytics (Sept 2018), Healthline’s “State of Cancer” Survey. Survey respondents (n=1,500) were recruited from Survey Sampling International’s consumer panel from September 29 – October 6, 2017.

About Breast Cancer Healthline: Breast Cancer Healthline is a new app with an intimate online community that is a safe place for breast cancer patients, survivors and caregivers to instantly share their stories, give and receive advice and encouragement, and discover the latest news, research and information. Since launching in June, Breast Cancer Healthline has been featured twice by Apple in the Appstore under “New Apps we Love” with more than 11,000 installs.

About Healthline Media

As the #1 health media property in the US, Healthline Media reaches more than 94MM unique visitors each month (Comscore, August 2021). We provide credible health information with a compassionate approach.