Stories of Breast Cancer Through Art

Julie Ann Ponto

Marlene H. Frost

Romayne Thompson

Teresa Allers

Tracy Reed Will

Katherine M. Zahasky

Kay M.B. Thiemann

Jane Harper Chelf

Mary E. Johnson

Sylvester Sterioff

Joseph Rubin

Lynn C. Hartmann

ONF 2003, 30(6), 1007-1013. DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.1007-1013

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the use of an art exhibit, created in response to breast cancer survivor stories, and additional supplementary activities to increase cancer awareness and provide support to those with cancer.

Data Sources: Published articles and books, personal experiences.

Data Synthesis: Art has been used to educate and promote the expression of emotions. Using an art exhibit as the central feature, a planning committee composed of staff members and volunteers developed a repertoire of activities to improve cancer awareness and provide support to cancer survivors. Visitor and staff reactions to the event were profound.

Conclusions: Art can capture the most intimate and personal aspects of the cancer experience. This event was a novel and effective way to increase awareness about the cancer experience. The event brought together patients, family members, friends, staff members, and the community and facilitated new partnerships to help people with cancer.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses are well equipped to direct the therapeutic use of art and support the potential reactions of viewers. Nurses can promote the benefit of art exhibits for cancer education, support, and awareness and use their knowledge and skills in planning and implementing supplementary activities.

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