Cancer researchers explore healing power of digital storytelling

CALGARY- A new study is looking at the therapeutic value of digital storytelling for both young people affected by childhood cancer and the health care professionals who care for them.

“We think we do a really good job in cancer care of curing and research has taken us quite far that way but this is really about the care side of things and addressing the psychosocial effects that having cancer has on people,” said Dr. Catherine Laing, the University of Calgary nursing professor leading the study.

Laing is leading the research project that will take participants like 27 year old Laura Cuthbertson through the process of creating short, first-person narrative videos in which they can tell their story.

“I’m an unusual case, so maybe some medical professional somewhere could learn something from my experience,” said Cuthbertson.

After the videos are produced, Laing plans to interview participants to see if creating the videos had any therapeutic value. She will also present the videos to health care providers to see if they also can learn something from the patient’s stories. Researchers are looking to recruit at least fifteen Albertans, ages 8 to 30, who have or have had childhood cancer.

The research project is being funded by the Kids Cancer Care Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research Fund along with the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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