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Dear All
Please read the below from Claire Balmer Research fellow Warwick University.

I would like to invite you to take part in a study that is taking place at Warwick University. The aim of the study is to find out what it’s like to live with cancer in today’s society.

We know that people are now living longer and longer after a diagnosis of cancer. This is great news but sometimes people are left with problems, such as physical changes causing difficulties, loneliness, financial worries, fear of the cancer coming back, etc. A recent study commissioned by the charity Macmillan Cancer Support found that people with cancer think that the impact of cancer on their lives is a very important area of research.

I therefore wish to interview people who have had treatment for cancer to find out what it’s really like. However, I also want to ask these people to take some photographs over about a fortnight to represent how cancer has affected their lives and illustrate what is important to them. The photos can be of anything e.g. personal things, family, work, social life, physical changes, treatment, etc. (This will be discussed further with people who decide to take part).

This might sound like a strange way of doing research but it has been used successfully to find out about the concerns of people with breast and prostate cancer and other medical conditions. Most people who took part found it allowed them to express more than they would have been able to through talking alone. We think that interviews supplemented by photographs will provide an excellent opportunity for researchers and health professionals to learn from people who are actually affected by these issues. Please note I am NOT looking for great photographers! All abilities including complete beginners are very welcome. It’s about what is photographed, not how it is photographed.

If you decide to take part in the study we will meet at a time and venue convenient to you (most people are happy for me to come to their homes) and we will have a recorded discussion about your experience of living with cancer. I will then lend you a camera (or you are very welcome to use your own) and invite you to take photographs of things that represent living with cancer for you over about two weeks. We will then meet again when you will pick 5-10 photos which represent the most important aspects for you and we will have another recorded discussion about these and what they mean for you. You will also be invited to an optional workshop with other participants to discuss the analysis of all the photographs taken by people for the study.

The study is being organised by the University of Warwick Medical School and funded by the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority. It has been reviewed and approved by the Coventry and Warwickshire Research Ethics Committee. All data you provide will remain confidential and your photos will only be shared if you provide written consent for this.

The research will be lead by an experienced cancer nurse and this study will form part of her PhD.

For further details, please contact (Melanie Brooks)
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