Cancer Council has existing expertise in producing print and online information for people affected by cancer. Research shows that information in a format that people can easily understand and access helps to support the delivery of quality cancer care.1,2,3,4
The increasingly popular medium of podcasts offered the opportunity to overcome common barriers to information access, such as being time poor (especially carers), being too fatigued or unwell to read, or having low literacy. Podcasts can be accessed from smartphones, computers and other devices, enabling people to listen when and where they choose – on the way to treatment, in a chemotherapy chair or while exercising.
Working with an experienced podcast producer, we created a pilot series of 10 podcasts. We chose an interview-style format featuring cancer experts, as well as people affected by cancer. The topics covered are of wide relevance and as diverse as coping with a cancer diagnosis, managing fatigue, how to talk with kids, and emerging treatments. A web page for each episode links consumers with other relevant information and support services.
Initial results indicate that the podcasts are gaining a significant audience, with more than 3500 plays in the first six weeks, and over 4500 views of the podcast web pages. A qualitative evaluation process is being built. Initial feedback from consumers and independent media has been very positive and suggests that the podcast format provides reassurance and immediacy as well as information: “I finally feel I have a tool to give people to understand the ME ‘now’ better! And I don't feel so alone!!”5
Podcasts are an engaging way to provide information to people affected by cancer and have particular potential for psychosocial support. Further evaluation will provide guidance about the optimal use of this promising format for cancer information.