Communicating Patient-Centered Research

Over the past two years I have been conducting research in the medical humanities, I have paid stronger attention to the rhetorical aspects of language. My project centers around the use of the war metaphor with regard to breast cancer and particularly in reference to metastatic breast cancer, and the meaning behind this project is intertwined with the field of rhetoric. My thesis project aims to examine the role of the war metaphor in emotion regulation in women with metastatic breast cancer. We conducted semi-structured interviews with women with MBC, considering the impact of this language on illness experience.

Alongside presenting empirical evidence and conducting verifiable data analysis, it is also a priority in this kind of work to ensure we are fairly and accurately representing the people most impacted by our research. It is always a necessity to offer the true perspective of our patients rather than inserting my own narrative. To communicate my research well, I must carefully consider and incorporate the views of our participants. In the field of narrative medicine, we are uniquely interested in the emotional, personal experiences of illness and how we can effectively understand and communicate them. I feel my communication is a success when the language makes our patients and people with life experience in this area feel represented and understood.

My research team intends to make recommendations for future clinical interaction and greater empathy in cancer care. We additionally have interest in developing interventions related to what we have learned from interviews with our participants. To succeed in these goals and fulfill patient-centered purposes of the project, we must communicate our research to a number of people from varying backgrounds. Our findings can be disseminated to medical professionals, support group leaders, caretakers, and patients themselves. Most importantly, this study encompasses the lived experiences of women with metastatic breast cancer. In order for our research to make a difference in the lives of patients, our findings must open conversation between healthcare providers, patients, and other influential individuals involved in cancer care. As an undergraduate researcher and aspiring physician, I aspire to be a leader in the process of creating these conversations.

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