A low literacy targeted talking book about radiation therapy for cancer: development and acceptability

Sian K Smith, Maria Cabrera-Aguas, Joanne Shaw, Heather Shepherd, Diana Naehrig, Bettina Meiser, Michael Jackson, George Saade, Joseph Bucci, Georgia K B Halkett, Robin M Turner, Christopher Milross, Haryana M Dhillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


PURPOSE: To develop a low literacy talking book (written book with accompanying audio-recording) about radiation therapy and explore its acceptability with patients and caregivers.

METHOD: The talking book was developed iteratively using low literacy design principles and a multidisciplinary committee comprising consumers and experts in radiation oncology, nursing, behavioural sciences, and linguistics. It contained illustrations, photos, and information on: treatment planning, daily treatment, side effects, psychosocial health, and a glossary of medical terms. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients who self-reported low functional health literacy and caregivers to explore their views on the resource. Thematic analysis using a framework approach informed the analysis.

RESULTS: Participants were very satisfied with the content, illustrations, and language in the resource. Most were unfamiliar with the term 'talking book', but liked the option of different media (text and audio). The resource was seen as facilitating communication with the cancer care team by prompting question-asking and equipping patients and their families with knowledge to communicate confidently.

CONCLUSIONS: The low literacy talking book was well accepted by patients and their caregivers. The next step is to examine the effect of the resource on patients' knowledge, anxiety, concerns, and communication with the cancer care team.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Early online date17 Sept 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sept 2018


  • Cancer
  • Communication
  • Health literacy
  • Knowledge
  • Qualitative
  • Radiation therapy
  • Talking book

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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