Best Infographic

Mount Sinai Medical Center answers complex question with infographic

The hospital took readers step-by-step through the process of answering whether oral sex can cause cancer, and how likely one might be to contract it that way.

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Sometimes, infographics take complicated topics and oversimplify them. When they’re really done well, infographics can take something complex and otherwise difficult to talk about, and make it easy to understand.

The latter is what a team at Mount Sinai Medical Center did when it created an infographic to answer the question, “Can I get cancer from oral sex?” in October 2011, and it’s why the hospital is the winner of the Best Infographic category in Ragan’s Health Care PR and Marketing Awards for 2012.

The oral cancer infographic was the first the hospital team ever created, but it won’t be the last.

Around that time, the link between oral sex, human papillomavirus, and certain types of mouth cancer was becoming a hot topic, and hospital officials wanted to provide some answers in a fashion that wasn’t just easy to understand, but also easy to share.

The infographic itself takes readers through a series of questions about the link, much like a medical brochure would, starting with whether there’s a link between HPV and mouth cancer (there is). It goes on to describe just what HPV is, what sorts of cancers it can cause, who’s more at risk for mouth cancer linked to HPV, what behaviors might increase the risk, and symptoms and treatments.

It does one better than a brochure, though, with vibrant, colorful charts and illustrations showing what the risks are and how patients can mitigate them. Plus, you can’t post a brochure on Facebook.

Inspiring people to share the infographic was a huge goal for Mount Sinai, and it met that goal. On various social media platforms, the infographic was shared more than 9,000 times to an audience of about 135,000. In the month the infographic was posted, traffic to the hospital’s ear, nose, and throat website was higher than it had been in the previous 12 months combined.

Anticipating that interest, the Mount Sinai team updated information about HPV and oral cancers on its website. The team also posted frequently on its social media presences about the link between oral sex and cancer.

To view the winning infographic, please click here.

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