Responding to questions about cancer research blogging in Summer 2020

Summer 2020 Blogging Challenge

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I’m excited to participate in this summer’s blogging challenge from Nancy at Nancy’s Point! Every summer for the last six years, Nancy has been offering a blogging challenge that is fun and gives us all a chance to learn more about our blogging community.

So, without further ado, here are my answers to this year’s challenge questions.

1. Who are you? Tell us whatever you want about you and your blog.

Ever since my breast cancer diagnosis at age 35, I’ve been interested in research. Research aimed at developing better and less toxic treatments. And also research aimed at improving our understanding of the various risks and exposures that lead to breast cancer so that as a society we can take action to prevent future suffering and death from this disease.

I started this blog about 7 years ago, as I was just passing the 20 year mark since my own diagnosis, and that’s where the name comes from. I write about a variety of topics, including developments in research as seen from the patient advocate perspective, as well as quality of life issues for survivors and health policy topics. There’s a lot of information available online but it can be quite time consuming to find reliable sources and sort out what’s really important to know. I try to do some of that for my readers.

2. What has been your biggest blogging challenge during this pandemic, and how have you been tackling it (or trying to)?

During this pandemic, our country is facing enormous health, economic and social justice issues all at the same time. They’re interrelated and all cry out for appropriate and necessary public policy action. It sometimes seems hard in the context of all that’s going on, to choose topics for the blog that seem relevant and pertinent right now.

In spite of that, I keep coming back to the fact that cancer isn’t going away. And risk may actually be increasing to the extent that there are delays in screenings and treatment because of the pandemic. So I continue to do what I do and try to provide information that may be useful for readers.

3. What is something you’ve accomplished with your blog that you’re most proud of?

I’m very grateful for my readers, both those that have been around a long time and the new readers that have been signing up to follow the blog. When someone takes the time to let me know that information I’ve shared is helpful, then I feel that I’ve “accomplished” something in writing these articles.

4. Share two of your best blogging tips.

One of the things that I think is important is to take some time to try to come up with a great headline. There’s so much out there competing for people’s attention that it really helps to have a title that sounds intriguing. It’s not always to easy to do this, but when I do come up with a good one it seems to make a difference. Often I will brainstorm as many ideas as I can think of for a post title, and select the best one.

Another thing I do is I try to make my website easy to read and easy to find things on. The hope is that if someone stops into to my blog to read an article they will hand around for a bit and look at some other posts as well.

5. What is one of your blogging goals this year?

One of my goals since the beginning of this year has been to try to get some articles published on health-related sites that have wider readership. And in fact I was thrilled to have an article based on a recent blog post I had done published on the website Kevin MD back in March. Unfortunately, the article was published just as the pandemic was taking off so I don’t think many people saw it. Here’s a link to the article if you want to take a look – Communicating about cancer: 5 common terms that are frequently misunderstood.

6. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging, even if not regularly?

I’ve had occasional times when it’s hard to keep the blog going for a variety of reasons. However, I’m grateful that I have readers who are interested in what I’m writing about and I know that I continue to have a lot I want to say. Remembering why I do this helps to keep me going.

7. What is a dream you have for your blog?

It would love to someday put together a book based on my blog. I’m not sure what kind of a book it would be. Perhaps not exactly a memoir but maybe a more “journalistic” type of book with stories from my experience included. One of the challenges is that a lot of what I write about is at least somewhat time sensitive.

8. Share a link to a favorite post you’ve written that you want more people to read.

One of my favorite posts, which also happens to be one of the posts that has been very popular, is this one I wrote a few years back: Is There a “New Normal” After a Cancer Diagnosis?

So those are my answers! I enjoyed the challenge and look forward to reading everyone’s responses. Be sure to see Nancy’s answers to the questions on her blog along with links to posts where other bloggers share their answers. Thank you for another great challenge, Nancy!

Related Posts
Summer 2019 Blogging Challenge
Blogging Challenge: My Answers to 10 Random Questions About Cancer
Three Year Anniversary for After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog
Blogging Challenge: 15 Random Facts About Me

Photo by Lisa DeFerrari


  1. Always love hearing the research on your blog, Lisa! Keep up the great work please.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    It’s great you’re participating in this summer’s challenge. Thank you. You even know how long I’ve been doing this! Your blog posts are important, valuable sources of information about research topics in the news. I totally agree with your tip about trying to have a good headline for a blog post. You gotta grab people’s attention, which isn’t always easy considering all the stuff floating by in everyone’s feeds these days. Congrats on having the post published on Kevin MD! I shared it in my email this week. I will have to take another look at your favorite post. And I hope you do pursue the book plan. I’m sure it would be a wonderful resource. Thanks again for participating in my blog hop, Lisa. Stay safe and well. x

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Thank you for hosting the challenge again this year. It was fun answering your interesting questions, which made me think a bit without having to “work” too hard at it! And I really appreciate your sharing my Kevin MD post. Take care and stay safe! x

  3. It’s nice to connect with you, LIsa! I could work a little more on my headlines for sure. It’s hard to have a creative headline that also works well for SEO. I really hope you actualize your dream of writing a book!

    I loved your post about a new normal. I had never thought about holding the two contradictory versions of normal. There are the things I valued before my diagnosis that I cherish even more now, but for the most part I lead such a different life than I did before. I am probably one of the few that wouldn’t want to go back to my old life.

    Even without a breast cancer diagnosis, I look forward to reading more of your thought-provoking posts!

    1. Hi Ramae,
      I’m delighted to know about you and your blog and am very glad to now be connected. Thanks for reading my post about a new normal. I had seen that study and thought it was quite interesting and gave a more nuanced perspective than what we often hear. I look forward to reading posts on your blog as well!

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