Twitter Republic
Image by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

When it comes to team spirit, the breast cancer community has got it going on.

This community certainly has enough patients, survivors and caregivers to give the community a boost when breast cancer accounts for a little more than 10 percent of all cancer diagnoses each year.

And when it comes to advocacy, the brain tumor community could certainly learn a thing or two from the breast cancer community.

Twitter and cancer

I’m a big fan of @chemo_babe on Twitter. She has stage 3 Her2 breast cancer (whatever that is–don’t blame me, I have brain cancer) and writes a great blog at

I was checking my Twitter feed the other night when I came across a few of her tweets containing the hashtag #bcsm. I didn’t know what it stood for, but her tweets revolved around two bloggers in the breast cancer community who recently lost the battle with their disease. (I later learned that #bcsm stood for Breast Cancer Social Media. There is an informational website set up at

I clicked the hashtag and it took me to a feed of other Twitter users using the same hashtag. They were all talking about breast cancer–many of them leaving comments about memories of the two female bloggers. Others were tweeting about breast cancer topics in general: chemo, radiation, hair loss, certain drugs, the latest Susan G. Komen scandal.

I joined the conversation and said:

@chemo_babe and I tweeted back and forth, and then @uvmer joined in.

@uvmer lost her best friend to brain cancer and spends much of her Twitter time tweeting about brain cancer awareness and advocacy. She uses the popular hashtag #BrainTumorThursday and, well, tweets on Thursdays.

After tweeting with the two of them I suddenly had a genius idea.

It was @uvmer who came up with the #btsm hashtag.

And thus,

So there you have it. The birth of the brain tumor social media hashtag on Twitter, in all its glory.

Use it. Tag your tweets with #btsm if you are talking about brain tumors. Especially when it is MRI day and you feel like no one knows the anxiety you are feeling.