Educating Pre-Cancer Screening Patients

A surgical-gloved hand holding a petri dish contain a colon

We were awarded a grant of £25,000 by one of the world's largest medical research centres, the Mayo Clinic Rochester in the US, to extend filmmaker Dr Shreepali Patel's work using 'creative communication' techniques in non-arts fields.

In April 2015, both Shreepali and Rob Toulson travelled to Mayo Clinic Rochester to film the documentary footage. Shreepali's previous documentary film, The Golden Window, was also used to help educate nurses and patients in aspects of emotion and compassion, through digital art in a healthcare context.

The project with Mayo will also use this approach to storytelling to assist in educating patients undertaking colorectal cancer screenings. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the US. Yet death from CRC is mostly preventable if patients participate in a screening and surveillance program based on colonoscopy.

The research project was carried out in collaboration with cancer specialist Dr Piet de Groen at Mayo Clinic, and a quantitatively analysis evidenced the success and value of using artistic film in educating patients.

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Dr Shreepali Patel, Director of StoryLab, is a BAFTA award winning filmmaker, co-director of Emmy award winning production company Eyeline Films and academic in Film and Television Production. The project was carried out in collaboration with Dr Piet de Groen, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at University of Minnesota, emeritus staff at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, adjunct professor at University of Arizona and former Program Director of the Mayo Clinic/IBM Computational Biology Collaboration.