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Open-Access Cancer Discussion Guides Translated to Spanish

January 29, 2024

Translations Further Widen Access to Guides Created By Tomoko Ichikawa, ID Students, Medical Collaborators
Tomoko teaching and pointing to whiteboard/wall

Since 2018, Tomoko Ichikawa, ID Associate Professor of Visual Communication, has worked with a team of collaborators, including ID students and radiation oncologist Dr. Daniel Golden, to create a portfolio of ten discussion guides that educate patients about cancer treatment. They are called the Communicating the External Beam Radiotherapy Experience, or CEBRE, discussion guides. A set of guides for Communicating the Gynecological Brachytherapy Experience, or CoGBE, is also available.

The first four CEBRE guides (one general external beam guide plus three tumor site-specific guides: Breast, Lung, and Prostate) have now been translated to Spanish, further widening access. The translations for the remaining three CEBRE guides (GI, Central Nervous System, and Head & Neck) along with the three Brachytherapy guides are currently underway.

These translations were created using a methodology shared in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology – Biology – Physics. Both Tomoko and Dr. Golden are listed as authors.

These discussion guides now provide wider access to marginalized communities that experience pronounced health inequities.
—Tomoko Ichikawa, Associate Professor of Visual Communication

“The dual-layered translation process,” Tomoko adds, “was critical to expanding access.”

First, the guides were linguistically translated by professional medically knowledgeable translators. Then, Spanish-speaking clinicians culturally attuned and familiar with the patient context took another pass. They refined the translation through the lens of cultural appropriateness by understanding the cultural context of Spanish-speaking patients living in the United States. In this context, power dynamics between medical authorities and patients exist where patients are often passive participants. Providing phrasing that models assertiveness allows non-English-speaking patients to more readily express their concerns, using their voices for empowerment. (1)

The discussion guides are used by doctors in their first consultation meetings with patients helping them to explain external beam radiation therapy treatment for malignant and benign tumors located in the Brain, Breast, Digestive System, Head and Neck, Lung, and Prostate. Principal funding has come from the Radiation Oncology Institute.

An additional guide for pediatric patients undergoing proton therapy is slated to be developed in Spring 2024.

Current guides are available by request:


(1) Avila, S., Franco, I., Bregio, C., Haydon, A., Macayan, J. P., Rooney, M. K., Ichikawa, T., Golden, D. W., & Ortega, P. (2023). Spanish adaptation and evaluation of clinical discussion guides: Communicating the external beam radiotherapy experience (CEBRE) en español. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics116(1), 166–175.