In 2016, the American Cancer Society partnered with the John Hopkins Centre for Communication Programs -CPP and with governments and other cancer control partners in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to develop evidence-based culturally appropriate patient education materials.
The team began mapping cancer support services in Kenya, conducting reviews of existing cancer communication materials, and reviewing literature about cancer patient and caregiver knowledge, attitudes and practices.
The American Cancer Society research team, through focus groups and in-depth interviews learned that little is known about cancer screening, early detection, and the different types of cancer.
Here is what they found:
- Patients and caregivers reported cost as the main barrier to seeing healthcare.
- Myths and misconceptions about the cause of cancer were common and many believed it was a death sentence.
- Stigma and isolation were major problems for patients with a cancer diagnosis, with the general population often avoiding cancer patients, being unsympathetic, and not offering encouragement.
- In rural areas, stigmatization of cancer was a larger problem, with victim blaming being more prominent.
The formative research led the team to focus on reducing stigma, encouraging communication about the disease, explaining risk factors, and promoting early treatment-seeking in the presences of signs and symptoms.
In Kenya, the American Cancer Society partnered with the Kenya Ministry of Health to develop three materials. (Kenya Materials)
- Booklet for cancer patients and caregivers
- Flipchart for patient education (job aid for providers)
- Counseling Tip Sheet for providers
All three materials are available in English and Swahili.