Week 1: Research

Post-its and papers in hand, we began our sharing of the information that we had researched after our kick-off meeting.  We learned about how breast cancer presents and appears in many different aspects of our world today: culturally, institutionally, and individually.

Team members spoke about demographics and statistics such as the rates of occurrence in DC versus surrounding areas and range of ages most commonly affected.  We did a literature review to see what current studies have said about psychological tendencies, about current interventions that are being used, about “personhood”, and about dignity throughout the process.  We read blogs both in the support and derision of “pinktober”, about “scanxiety”, and about individual experience.  We even listened to the work of standup comedian Tig Notaro who was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts and opted to have a double mastectomy. She uses her comedy to share her personal experiences and to break down some of the existing norms and barriers faced by patients and survivors.

Using these pieces as inspiration, we sought to more fully immerse ourselves in the culture of breast cancer by talking with local patients and survivors. We still weren’t sure of where our journey would take us, but we wanted to hear from our eventual end-users on what they found pertinent.

With the second of 7 meetings completed, the team now set forth to use our interviews to learn more about some of the things our research had highlighted.

(To be cont.)