Shanda Foster never set out to be an influencer, let alone one in the healthcare space. But roughly five years after being diagnosed with endometrial and colon cancer, the Boston resident decided to tell her story in the interest of raising awareness about the disease. “People need to hear about this,” she said.

In this PRovoke Media Podcast, the second produced in partnership with Marina Maher Communications on influencers in healthcare, Foster shares her emergence as an influencer and the nuances of being one in space that at time warrants privacy as well as honesty. Joined by MMC senior VP Kristine Fan, Foster explores the challenges of going public with her healthcare journey without “trauma dumping,” striking a balance between authenticity and abiding by regulations, and Black woman in the space.

Podcasters also explore the challenges particular to generating content around a “below the belt” disease like endometrial cancer, discussions of which are often stigmatized, euphemized, and censored. Healthcare influencers also have the responsibility of dispelling misinformation.

All of which, Foster said, requires healthcare influencers to carefully consider what they want to share and how, while furthering the larger goal of creating content that resonates with followers. Sometimes, that requires stepping out of the healthcare space, as posting something as simple as personal photos can go a long way toward building deeper relationships, she said. “You feel like you’re talking to a friend,” Foster said.

Topics covered

3:20 People were looking for cancer survivors
5:00 People need to hear about this
5:50 Role of friends and family
6:00 How much sharing is too much
8:00 Using influencers to drive cancer conversations
9:40 Stigma and bias about below the belt issues
12:05 Misinformation among women
16:55 Having a vision
19:05 Being a Black woman influencer
22:20 Believing in brands