Breast Cancer Awareness Race

Writing with Cancer Survivors

Project Overview: 

Lit Youngstown aims to pioneer several community focused writing groups in the future. The first of these is a writing group for cancer patients and survivors in Mahoning County and is a collaborative project with Yellow Brick Place. The 6-week pilot test will be facilitated and researched by Outreach Coordinator, Cassandra Lawton in the Fall of 2021. 

 

Our Partner:

Yellow Brick Place is a fellow non-profit located in Youngstown, OH. The organization provides non-medical services to cancer patients, families and their caregivers free of charge. See their website for more details. 

 

Why this project?

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America, and in 2019 in Mahoning County alone, there were 1,424 cases of cancer diagnoses and 624 deaths from cancer. There is a need for interventions to help cancer survivors with additional symptoms that come with surviving cancer such as psychological distress like depression, anxiety, and loss of hope. Community-based writing groups for cancer survivors have potential to help diminish psychological distress and improve well-being among participants. 

 

There is little research on the effectiveness of writing groups for cancer survivors. This project seeks to help fill the gaps in the research, by answering the following research questions: 1). What are some effective ways to teach writing a community-based group for cancer survivors? 2). What correlations exist between specific teaching pedagogies and participant’s well-being scores? Through this study design, the pilot test will directly contribute to approximately 15 cancer survivors in the Youngstown area. 

 

What this project offers beyond the participants involved is that it will provide knowledge and research to the field for others to implement effective writing groups for cancer survivors in their communities. Further, once this project is completed, Lit Youngstown will continue to implement the evidence-based curriculum in more writing groups throughout the years. The benefits of this program are that it will add to the limited literature and help develop an evidence-based curriculum for writing groups for cancer survivors in the Youngstown area.