Facing death

As the Canadian Cancer Society sought to rewrite their advanced cancer publication they engaged us in a redesign process with people who have advanced cancer and their caregivers. We focused on understanding what’s missing in the current landscape of support and how we might reconsider the content, language and design of the publication in order to evoke more positive experiences. Our research included an in-depth literature review; expert interviews to capture current perspectives around advanced cancer, death and dying; and sensitive, semi-structured conversations with people who have advanced cancer and their caregivers. 

With insights developed from the experts and ethnographic conversations, we created prototypes to respond to the needs identified. We tested and iterated these new ideas for the publication in live workshops with research participants and experts. 

Ultimately, with Shawn Topp from The Outskirts on our team, we have re-written a publication made to help people: identify cultural perceptions that don’t work for them, set priorities about what is most important to them at this time in their lives, use their priorities to structure their care and decision-making, understand and embrace grief in a more nuanced way and hopefully, support folks to choreograph the dance of their own mortality. 

Ruth and her team at Groundswell were very thoughtful and creative partners in our research into the needs and experiences of people with advanced cancer and their caregivers. Groundswell’s flexibility, attention to detail and the bigger picture, and commitment to our research produced extremely insightful findings and a range of concrete opportunities for the Canadian Cancer Society’s information and support programs.

Clodagh McCarthy
Senior Manager Content Design
Canadian Cancer Society