The Coffey Blog
Cancer patient stories: Try a new perspective
Cancer touches nearly everyone's life—we all know someone who's been diagnosed with the disease. That's one reason why uplifting stories about people who survive are a popular choice for healthcare marketers.
But there is more to a journey with cancer than just overcoming the disease. There are other stories to tell—and other important voices to share.
6 alternative story ideas for cancer content
Being diagnosed with cancer can trigger a wide range of emotions, questions and challenges. As a healthcare marketer, you can help people with cancer and their loved ones better understand and cope with the disease by your choice of content.
As we've said before, compelling patient stories are healthcare marketing gold. But survival stories aren't the only ones worth sharing. When planning patient stories about cancer, consider expanding your focus beyond "I fought cancer and won" with these six equally powerful, patient-centered story lines:
1. "My mom was surrounded by support from beginning to end." Although more people are surviving cancer than ever before, not all cancer journeys end in recovery. It's OK to acknowledge that and use it as a way to showcase the compassionate care your cancer team provides to people at all stages of the disease.
2. "My doctor tailored my treatment plan to what I wanted." Some cancer patients want to aggressively fight the disease and are willing to try any and all available treatments. Others opt for less invasive treatments—or none at all. Reassure readers that your doctors listen to and partner with patients—and respect their treatment choices.
3. "Here's why I chose to participate in a clinical trial." Many people don't understand what happens during a clinical trial and the possible benefits of joining one. Although a doctor can easily explain the reasons why clinical trials are important, having a patient make the case is more personal and engaging—and more likely to prompt interest by other patients.
4. "Cancer changed how I think about being healthy and staying well." It's not unusual for a cancer diagnosis to motivate someone to adopt new, healthy habits, such as stopping smoking or eating a more nutritious diet. Those stories can be motivating—and not just to other people with cancer. They may inspire the rest of your readers to make healthy changes in their own lives too.
5. "Here's how I maintained my humanity during my cancer treatment." Cancer can take someone's life 180 degrees in a different direction. Treatments can disrupt work and family life. Side effects, like hair loss or overwhelming fatigue, can be emotionally and physically challenging. But many people find effective ways to cope and to feel more in control. Their stories can be inspirational to others who are struggling.
6. "I could not have made this journey without my community." Support during cancer treatment and recovery doesn't just come from the cancer care team. It is often found through a variety of special communities, such as cancer support groups, family, friends and neighbors. Many cancer patients might relish the opportunity to say thank you.