The burden of cancer for rural people is particularly heavy and access to peer support and appropriate, rurally-focused information is very limited. For these reasons we developed Rural Cancer Stories, a new YouTube channel (www.bit.ly/ruralcancerstories) which delivers peer-led support and advice to rural Australians affected by cancer. It encourages viewers to overcome barriers to accessing optimal cancer treatment and to adopt healthy behaviors that will assist them in managing treatment side effects and reduce their chance of cancer reoccurring.
Two people undergoing cancer treatment, nine post-treatment survivors and three cancer carers, 50% female, all of whom lived in rural areas of South Australia and ranged in age from 55 to 79 years, shared their tips and stories. Story-tellers then participated in semi-structured interviews about their involvement. A qualitative evaluation was also conducted with a sample of rural adults (1 person undergoing cancer treatment, 5 post-treatment survivors and 3 cancer carers, 78% female, ranging in age from 32 to 75 years) who had watched at least three of the videos, had been diagnosed with cancer in the past 10 years or who had supported someone who fitted this description. Data were analyzed using Thematic Analysis.
Key lessons from the production (e.g. time-consuming process, value of building rapport before filming) and viewers’ feedback (e.g. authenticity gained from filming people in their rural homes and environments, 2-5 minutes is an appropriate length, recognition and discussion of rural-specific challenges highly valued) will be outlined. The value of the project from the perspectives of the story-tellers will also be shared (e.g. pleased to have the opportunity to use their experience to help others, a cathartic process, useful to aid communication with their own family and friends), along with ideas for the improvement, promotion and broader educational uses of this and future, video-based resources.