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ID work featured in international symposium on cancer research

Discussion guides clarify treatment, decrease patient anxiety

By Andrew Connor

IIT Institute of Design-designed discussion guides for patients undergoing treatment for gynecological cancers will be featured in the Ninth Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research, to be held virtually March 10–11. More specifically, the abstract of a paper researching the perceived benefits of the discussion guides have been accepted for a poster presentation, and will also be featured in a special issue of the American Association for Cancer Research’s journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Discussion guide snapshot
Discussion guide snapshot: Delivering treatment


The guides, which detail the treatment for gynecological brachytherapy radiation treatment, are part of
an ongoing project from ID Clinical Professor Tomoko Ichikawa, ID students, and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. The team collaborated to create discussion guides that facilitate constructive patient-provider conversations. Through the use of graphic narratives and easy-to-digest language, these discussion guides clarify what patients should expect when undergoing radiation therapy. 

The perceived benefits study, conducted by Santiago Avila, medical student at the Pritzker School of Medicine, lends credence to the guides' effectiveness, finding that they are:

Usable with potential to reduce patient anxiety, especially with more invasive treatment modalities...[especially in] low resource settings with high cervical cancer burdens and patient populations that may benefit from graphic narrative formats.”

By focusing on accessibility, the team sought to both improve individuals’ health care experiences and achieve more equitable outcomes. The students who designed the discussion guides (listed below) are listed as co-authors on the study.

Faculty: Tomoko Ichikawa

Students: Sabah Asif (MDes 2019), Tyler Besecker (MDes 2020), Arushi Juneja (MDM 2019), Zhongyang Li (MDes 2020), Pinakee Naik (MDes 2020), Tanvi Ranka (MDes 2020), Prachi Saxena (MDes 2020), Brian Siegfried (MDes 2020) 

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