One reason I like reviewing emerging research is that it helps me view common issues with a new perspective. Often an issue is “right under our nose,” but we overlook it because it has become so familiar to us.
That was my experience when I read Lesego Bertha Kgatitswe’s thesis published through the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work explores the use of virtual support groups by women diagnosed with breast cancer.
I have read other studies about building online communities before, specifically for preventing and managing illnesses, however what struck me with Kgatitswe’s work is that it intentionally frames breast cancer as a “gendered disease” (because the majority of patients are female) and recognizes the importance of the offline social and cultural backdrop as she studied online community interactions. Read more