PEER UP for Cancer - A tool to aid communication between young adult cancer patients and their friends, and make it easier for patients to ask for help and for friends to offer relevant and appropriate support.

[Download Thesis Paper]




"When people are diagnosed with cancer, and when they are undergoing treatment, it’s often a challenge for them to communicate openly about what they’re feeling and what they need. PEER UP for Cancer helps young adult cancer patients easily communicate their needs and feelings with friends and makes it easier for them to offer help."


current reality

"Usually 25% to 30% patients with cancer receive chemotherapy as a treatment option and 70% to 80% of these patients undergoing chemotherapy exhibit nausea and vomiting as major symptoms."  After receiving chemotherapy, patients would have side effects like feeling extremely tired, pain, nausea and sometimes it’s hard for them to get up by themselves to the bathroom. Patients need help with some daily life activities. But the time when they need help most, is also the hardest time to ask for help. 

On the other side, when friends find out the patient has cancer, they would like to help and support but don’t know what to do. And friends also would concern that the patient might be too tired and it’s better not to bother him or her.

Problem Statement

Young adult cancer patients who initially got diagnosis often have difficulties communicating about what they need with people who could offer help.

Value proposition 

The intervention will provide a tool to facilitate the communicating process easier. So that patients feel more emotionally and socially connected with supported by their circle of friends and their needs get met more easily with less distress, which could improve their physical and mental health outcomes.


Youth adult cancer patients living in the U.S. and their friends. 

Thesis Process


Key insights from research

1. Patients often need the most help with daily life activities 1 or 2 days after having chemotherapy. Some of these needs reoccur after each chemo. 

2. Patients usually have one close friend within their friends circle, who becomes the point person that connects them to other friends.

3. It is easier for patients to be offered help than to ask for help.

4. Because patients spend most of their time at home, the most common way for them to connect with friends is through the phone.


Design solution 

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theory of change