Design of a Patient Education Booklet Approaching Gliomas at the Cellular Level
Hilborn, Nicole Marie
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The most common brain tumors originating in the cells of the brain are a family of tumors known as gliomas that are incurable and usually require some combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy to manage tumor growth and prolong the life of the patient. The central difficulty in curing gliomas lies in the motility of the tumor cells that migrate throughout the spongy tissue of the brain, invading healthy areas beyond the reach of standard treatment, and seeding the beginning of another tumor. This process continues until treatment options are exhausted. The length of the process is determined by the malignancy of the tumor cells, and gliomas can mutate into more malignant forms over the course of the disease. There are many newsletters, brochures, and websites available to patients that explain gliomas by describing tumor symptoms and treatment procedures. This is comforting to the patient because it tells him/her what to expect. However, most glioma patient collaterals rarely describe gliomas at the cellular level or explain the basic science behind radiation or chemotherapy; consequently, the patient doesn't have a grasp of the crucial disease processes going on at the cellular level, doesn't understand why his/her diagnosis might change, and doesn't understand why the treatments available have limited effectiveness against the tumor. The purpose of this thesis was to produce patient educational collateral for recently diagnosed adult patients and their caregivers to explain the concept of gliomas and their treatment options from a cellular perspective. Patients were polled to establish the relevance, scope, and form of the information included in the final product; then based on their input copy and illustrations were created and assembled into booklet form, selected as a more accessible and convenient format for fostering a better understanding of gliomas and better communication between patients and the medical staff involved in their treatment.