The use of virtual communities in the support to patients with breast cancer

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Thinking about virtual communities as a space for interaction and the sharing of experiences, especially among individuals affected by chronic diseases, the scope of this study was to analyze the role and nature of support offered by virtual communities to breast cancer patients. It is a descriptive study with a qualitative approach. For data collection, the Netvizz application was used extracting data from the first five Facebook open breast cancer groups in the year 2016. There were 2921 posts, totaling 1722 comments. For data analysis a word cloud was created through WordArt, and the most recurrent words were discussed in cross-sectional categories: I, confessional, vs. you, interactional; therapeutic process, religiosity and the “Intervention Window.” The results show that the support offered in these spaces occurs especially in the informational and emotional spheres, ranging from the diagnosis phase to the control of the disease. The understanding of the significance of the information shared in the virtual communities by women with breast cancer can contribute to the practice of care that is not restricted to the biological and technical approaches, but rather a more comprehensive and effective approach to holistic care.




de Melo, M. C., & Vasconcellos-Silva, P. R. (2018). The use of virtual communities in the support to patients with breast cancer. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 23(10), 3347–3356.

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