One notable outcome of Patient and Public Involvement in a research project is the Breast Cancer Cookbook. This book was produced as an outcome of the work undertaken by Prof Miriam Dwek and Dr. Claire Robertson which is concerned with diet and lifestyle factors and breast cancer survival. Having run laboratory open days for the general public while leading the Against Breast Cancer Research Unit, Prof Dwek changed the focus of her research from investigating long-term prognosis based on molecular markers in tumours to more short-term concerns related to responses to specific drug treatments. Subsequently, conversations with patients led Prof Dwek to look at diet and disease outcomes. A collaboration with Surgical Oncologist Professor Mo Keshtgar and Nutritionist Dr. Claire Robertson, Dr. Dwek produced The Breast Cancer Cookbook. The aim was to debunk some of the pseudoscience around this topic and to consider what patients had said about the side effects of treatment. In the first three months after publication twenty thousand copies were sold, with profits going to the Royal Free Hospital Charity. Without conversations with patients, the need for the cookbook would have remained unidentified.
Working with a doctoral researcher Christine Douglass, who had a background in film and was also a trustee of the Breakthrough for Breast Cancer charity, Prof Dwek was involved in a project where breast cancer patients were given video cameras to record their experience of living with the disease. The patients not only recorded the video, but they also edited the footage for the final cut. Several films and an exhibition entitled ‘What If’ resulted. To challenge the prevailing model of educational media for the medical profession the idea was that the material would be used to train doctors from the perspective of the patients.
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