As with many other cancers, public awareness of mouth cancer drives early presentation, diagnosis and treatment, which are key to improving mortality rates and reducing service burden.
Bringing together clinicians, health strategists and designers from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), this project explored how improving population awareness of mouth cancer might be achieved through the application of communication design strategies focusing on the basic symptoms of the disease.
The month-long A Word of Mouth Campaign launched on the 1st of November 2011, seeking to positively engage the public through event participation, including the taking of portraits in exchange for dialogue and supporting information.
Working in a KTP enabled staff and students from the Graphic Design programme at ECA to gain full access to services, clinical teams and patients to better understand the ‘true’ pathways and needs of the Head and Neck Directorate in NHS Lothian.
Six key platforms were used in A Word of Mouth Campaign - print media, a campaign website, social media, news media, street conversations and community screening clinics - collectively reaching over 138,410 individuals. Existing symptom awareness information was re-designed into accessible key statements upheld across all platforms; likewise the campaign branding was simple and accessible.
Engagement and participation included 11 photographers and over 30 NHS clinicians taking to Edinburgh’s streets to capture the collective face of a mouth cancer awareness campaign, with images and quotes projected in St Andrew’s Square at the climax of the campaign.
The project was part sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board and its activities were supported by external partners, including MEHIS (Minority Ethnic Health Inclusion Service) and The Ben Walton Trust.
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