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New lung cancer handbook achieves WriteMark Standard

New lung cancer handbook achieves WriteMark Standard

Cancer has a wide reach. When someone gets cancer, they desperately need clear information—and so do their family and friends. The information has to meet their needs and answer their questions, in as simple and straightforward a way as possible.

That’s why it’s so important that the Cancer Society’s new handbook for people with lung cancer, Lung Cancer (Matepukupuku Pūkahukahu) has been awarded the WriteMark. The WriteMark is New Zealand's internationally recognised quality mark for plain English documents. The WriteMark shows that the handbook reaches a rigorous standard of clarity, writing, and presentation. Most of all, it shows that the handbook works for the people who need it.

The handbook was developed by the Cancer Society with the help of Write Limited, after the Society won the premier award in the 2012 WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards. The prize was $10,000 of consulting work from Write Limited. The Cancer Society chose to apply the prize to developing a new resource for people with lung cancer.

The Cancer Society worked with Write to review and refine the handbook, through a detailed process. The handbook was user-tested with readers twice. Each test round included both people with lung cancer and their supporters. The Cancer Society left no stone unturned in its quest to get the handbook as clear and as useful as it could possibly be.

‘We were totally committed to making the handbook as clear as it could be. Clear information helps people to cope, and to make the best decisions they can for their own circumstances,’ says Sarah Stacy-Baynes, the Cancer Society’s National Information Manager. ‘That’s what we wanted our handbook to do. And, with Write’s help, that’s what we’ve achieved.’

The advantage of going through the WriteMark process is that it makes sure that the handbook is reader-friendly, and that its content is appropriate and useful, she says.

The Cancer Society is leading the way among health organisations, with its commitment to making its information clear and easy for its readers to use. Health organisations are increasingly realising the importance of producing written resources that support health literacy. Health literacy is the ability for people to understand and use information to benefit their own or their family’s health.


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