In an effort to discover new ways to educate womenÑpredominantly with limited literacy and low income levelsÑabout breast cancer treatment options, Baylor College of Medicine is conducting a study to test the effectiveness of an interactive computer decision support system (CDSS). The system uses brief mini-dramas to provide breast cancer treatment information and options.
The soap operas would be specifically tailored to the woman’s background by having the characters represent her ethnicity, age, and stage of cancer. Although the study is on-going, a pilot test of the CDSS indicates that women understood the program content and are able to offer a reasonable ranking of the desirability of treatment options. The pilot test suggests that the program could potentially provide a method of educating women who might not otherwise understand or be aware of all available treatment options. The American Cancer Society estimates that 192,200 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year.