Women share experiences of surviving breast cancer in hard-hitting poster display

Date 22.04.2016

A research project conducted by the University of Northampton is to have its visual debut at Milton Keynes library in May, with an exhibition illustrating women’s experiences of breast cancer.

The project encouraged women who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer to identify and share their feelings – surrounding both their diagnosis and treatment – in a visual format. The women who took part in the project were encouraged to consider issues which were important to them during their cancer journey, before choosing photographs or pictures which best reflected their feelings. Research such as this is used to shape teaching modules for oncology students, and the researchers hope that the women’s views can be used to improve the support offered to cancer patients.

Breast Cancer Care identify that 1 in 8 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. However 85 per cent of people survive breast cancer for more than five years. University of Northampton Researcher Carmel Capewell explained: “The content of the posters came directly from the women, who thought about their experiences individually. The women created images which reflected their feelings, and then wrote a short description of what the image meant for them personally, before discussing it with their group. The posters we have chosen for the exhibition were selected based on the most common experiences that the women shared.”

Carmel added: “When someone is diagnosed with cancer, those around them can find it difficult to talk about it. We hope that this exhibition will help to start conversations about how cancer can impact someone and for people to be able to share their experience.”

This research was conducted by staff from The University of Northampton’s Schools of Education and Health in a collaborative approach. The University is committed to making a positive social impact, and has set itself four ambitious challenges to meet by 2020. One of these ‘Changemaker+ Challenges’ is to make Northamptonshire the best county in the UK for health and wellbeing.

The poster exhibition will be held at Milton Keynes Central Library from Wednesday 4 May. The library is located at: 555 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK9 3HL. A poster advertising the event is available here: Macmillan poster.  For further information, email: news@northampton.ac.uk