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Comms head reflects on three years of blogging about his own cancer

Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Dan Zenka believes social media can help men open up

New York Minute prostate cancer blog

Social media has created a "new breed of men" who are more open to communicating about health issues than ever before, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation's Dan Zenka.

Zenka serves as the vice president of communications for the US cancer charity, and has also just marked three years of blogging about his own diagnosis and battle with advanced prostate cancer.

"I was well aware of the irony of my situation," Zenka wrote after his urologists diagnosed him with the condition in 2010.

The next day, he returned to work, broke the news to his staff and immediately set about the launch of the blog My New York Minute.

He took up the post with the philanthropic foundation two years before his own proverbial 'New York minute', having carved out a 20-year career in international corporate communications.

Having spent this time encouraging men and their families to be more conversant about prostate cancer, he felt "a clear moral responsibility to teach by example and use the opportunity to open a dialogue".

"My experience with the blog, social media, and chat rooms that deal with prostate cancer has convinced me that when provided with an opportunity to avoid the old eyeball-to-eyeball support group circle and open up mostly anonymously online, men will," he wrote.

"In fact, it's amazing how much, and in what detail they are willing to talk. New media has created a new breed of men with new levels of openness. That's a good thing for all of us on this cancer journey."

The site receives more than 60,000 visitors per year, thanks to posts that have covered topics such as improvements in treatment and the social impact of diagnosis, to remembering friends who have succumbed to their condition.

27th February 2013

From: Marketing

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