Researcher’s use of Breast Cancer Blogs (D-G)

Researcher’s use of Breast Cancer Blogs (D-G)

This is my second post in a series on the ways in which Researcher’s are using breast cancer blogs. You can read more about this in my initial post. In this post I explore researchers with first author last names starting with D through G. Note that I may have missed a few in my initial search.  When I’m done with the list I have now, I’ll go back and search a couple other databases to ensure I’m not missing anything.

de Boer, M., & Slatman, J. (2014). Blogging and breast cancer: Narrating one’s life, body and self on the Internet. Women’s Studies International Forum, 44, 17-25. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2014.02.014

This study, published in a Women’s Studies journal, highlights some of the unique characteristics blogs contribute to narrative – that is, the authors highlight ways in which blogs can be used to communicate that is different from more traditional narrative forms. Specifically, they highlight “[in traditional forms] there can only be an absence of telling and speaking an anti-narrative. Our analysis shows that blogs offer the paradoxical possibility to narrate the anti-narrative by telling what cannot be told through the posting of an empty story” (p. 20), they also highlight that blogs “allow these women to articulate their experience in their own, sometimes surprising, unconventional and fragmentized linguistic and visual way” (p.21).

I’m a bit challenged by the way in which the authors chose to identify the bloggers. They used the bloggers self-chosen names, however, they did not provide a link to the blogs anywhere in the article. So the blogs themselves were not appropriately cited. The authors do footnote that the quotes and blog titles were translated from their original Dutch language to English.

Denecke, K., Tsytsarau, M., Palpanas, T., & Brosowski, M. (2009). Topic-related Sentiment Analysis for Discovering Contradicting Opinions in Weblogs. Retrieved from

In this computer science (or information systems) study the authors are looking at designing a web analysis engine to explore the difference of opinions within communities as time progresses. The study uses the breast cancer blogosphere as a convenient “community” for analysis, but is not specifically studying breast cancer blogs.

Finer, B. S. (2016). The Rhetoric of Previving: Blogging the Breast Cancer Gene. Rhetoric Review, 35(2), 176-188. doi:10.1080/07350198.2016.1142855

This study is in the field of communication studies, and more specifically in rhetoric. I, honestly, don’t understand a lot of it as it is rather theoretical and not my field of study. I was, however, impressed at how the author thanks the bloggers in her footnotes, stating “I will forever be appreciative to the BRCA+ bloggers who have educated me, inspired me, and supported me as a write, a patient, and an activist” (p.187). I am left wondering if it was her insider status that made her see the appropriateness of thanking the bloggers who provided data for her research study?

Gualtieri, L., & Akhtar, F. (2013). Cancer patient blogs: How patients, clinicians, and researchers learn from rich narratives of illness. Proceedings from ITI 2013 35th International Conference on Information Technology Interfaces, Cavtat, Croatia.

In reading about this information systems study, I found myself wanting to use the tool the author is proposing. The author is suggesting the need for a search engine that allows user to find useful / appropriate information from ePatient blogs. Breast cancer blogs are used as a data source to help test the prototype. I thought this was a particularly fascinating use of illness blogs by researchers, and certainly not a use that I had considered. The thought is that if such a tool existed, then ePatient blogs could be more useful as data sources for both research but also for physician and patient education.

That brings me to the end of the letter G. So far I’m really enjoying my exploration. When I started this little project I had expected to find things in oncology, nursing, and communication studies – perhaps feminist studies. I was fascinated to find the ones in computer sciences/informations systems. I’ve found others too, which I will write more about when I get to those letters.

Feature image CC0 Licensed.

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