UA-118272889-1 1739406299646766 Bringing Awareness to New Audiences Through Social Media - WE Have Cancer

Episode 173

Published on:

23rd Mar 2021

Raising Colorectal Cancer Awareness to New Audiences Through Social Media

Episode summary:

In this episode of WE Have Cancer, Allison Rosen joins to talk and discuss the changes that she’s seen in awareness, support, and research of colorectal cancer. Allison also discusses how social media has created a new way to reach younger people, and in turn, there is more research, treatment options, and support resources. 

Guest biography

Allison Rosen is a public health care worker in colorectal cancer, outreach, and education prevention. She is project director at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houstin, which was just funded by the CDC for a project that is focused on colorectal cancer prevention. 

Table of contents:


Allison Rosen is back on the podcast after a few years to talk about how much things have changed, within her career and within the focus on young onset, colorectal cancer. Younger people were getting diagnosed and passing away at an alarming rate. There weren't a lot of treatment options, or focus on early screening. Now, with advocates and others amplifying their voices, more research is being done. There is more of a direct advocacy for early onset cancer. 

Understanding the Psychosocial Effects

Recalling the time that she was diagnosed with cancer, Allison asked for a psychologist or someone to talk to that was around her own age going through the same thing. She knew that there were going to be hard challenges ahead, but didn’t exactly know what they were. Allison had a lot of personal struggles with body image, and knew that there were people that struggled financially with the disease and treatment. 

Support Options and Help 

Allison talks about how much has changed from when she first got diagnosed to now. At treatment centers, they provide support for the aspects that might be hindered by treatment. From non-profits, to fertility specialists at hospitals, and support for the lasting effects of the treatment. 

Different Resources to Bring Awareness

People can learn and become aware about colorectal cancer through programs like the Gastrointestinal American Society of Clinical Oncology. They hold virtual meetings for those that want to become an advocate. The power of social media is huge because experts can break things down for people to access whenever, wherever. It’s reaching a new sort of audience. 

Changes in Diagnosis

The younger population are getting rectal cancer at a higher rate, which means they need more treatment options and research. With less of a stigma, and more people willing to speak up and talk about it, it’s allowing for more support and awareness. Everyone is now listening - and slowly breaking down the stigma of this type of cancer. The more light that is shed on the topic, the more research. 

Importance of Prevention and Early Detection

The conversation now is based on prevention by leading a healthy lifestyle and trying to detect it early on. There are studies that are trying to find out why it happens, and it’s moved towards a focus on the gut microbiome. There is a science behind it, but it still doesn’t exactly explain why younger people are experiencing it. 

Passion For Public Health Field 

Allison aims to give patients and survivors the opportunity to get involved in treatment, research, and creating support groups. She gets direct feedback from the population that is experiencing it, and tries to represent the collective voice by asking questions in the public health field. 

Barriers That Patients Face

A lot of patients and providers are learning more about the disease because people are speaking out and speaking up about their experiences, especially the barriers that they face. Allison’s project that she’s working on is to identify barriers and help patients and survivors solve them. 

Links mentioned in the show:

Allison Rosen - Fight Colon Cancer

Follow Allison on TikTok

Follow Allison on Instagram

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About the Podcast

WE Have Cancer
Providing information, inspiration and hope to those touched by cancer.
Each year more than 12 million people will hear the devastating words "you have cancer."

In each episode of WE Have Cancer we share the stories of patients, survivors, caregivers and medical professionals as a way to provide information, inspiration and hope to those touched by cancer.

The host, Lee Silverstein, is a survivor of a rare form of pediatric kidney cancer and has been battling stage 4 colon cancer since 2011.

About your host

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Lee & Linda Silverstein

In 2011, just four months after they began dating, Lee was diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer. A year and a half later, 17 days after their honeymoon, they learned that Lee’s cancer had spread to his liver; he was now Stage 4. Through numerous surgeries, chemotherapy infusions and assorted other treatments, Linda has been by his side. Despite cancer, Lee and Linda say unequivocally these have been the best years of their lives.

In 2015 Lee launched this podcast as a way to provide information, inspiration and hope to those affected by cancer.

Lee and Linda live in Florida with their Westie Terrier, Fergie.

The WE Have Cancer podcast is supported by The Colon Cancer Coalition -