Skip to main content
Service Design (MA)

Chen Dang

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in China, with over 4 million new cancer cases diagnosed in China each year. According to the latest data released by the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there are about 4.57 million new cancer cases in China in 2020. And cancer is a chronic disease. Therefore, the patient base of this group is large and growing fast.
At present, they are faced with a two-sided problem, the problem of the Chinese healthcare system and the problem of patient healthcare.
Chinese healthcare system
Chinese healthcare systemIn China, as the cancer patient population continues to grow, so does the pressure on healthcare. Healthcare resources are very tight. China has 22% of the world's population, but only 2% of the world's healthcare resources. As of 2021, there are only 124 cancer hospitals in China, which can’t cater for the approximately 4 million new cancer patients each year. Secondly, there is also the problem of unequal distribution of healthcare resources in China.
Patient healthcare
Patient healthcareThe health care problems of cancer patients are mainly based on the physical and psychological problems caused by their disease condition and physical state.
As a result, this supply-side and demand-side problem has led to a treatment journey fraught with difficulties for many cancer patients. More and more patients have started to set up their own cancer patient support groups to help each other.
Communication among cancer patients in China will allow them to access more medical information and experience to balance the scarce medical resources. And, within this group of people who share similar experiences, cancer patients feel a high level of empathy, which also helps a lot to improve their emotions.
The current communication channels for patients are unable to provide both the comprehensive and precise information and emotional support that they need. And there is a lack of uniform management because of the great variability caused by geography. The communication of cancer patients lacks medical expertise and authority, and their privacy and safety cannot be guaranteed.
My strategy is to provide three components of services for more targeted communication with cancer patients based on the five stages they go through. Group therapy is a way to help cancer patients formally integrate into the patient community and help them adjust to their new role as patients. Recovery guidance is to enhance the ability of cancer patients to self-manage their disease symptoms, treatment and emotions.
Island provides service to the large group of cancer patients in China. It is a combination of an online community and an offline club. Community includes understanding and consultation, recording and reminding, sharing and communication. Offline with a focus on practical rehabilitation activities, will accompany cancer patients throughout their treatment.
Island's value proposition is to help cancer patients move more quickly from being a 'recipient' to a 'helper'. Users will be supported throughout their journey through patient community, private information collation and collective activities.
The development of the island is based on the burden of cancer in each province of China, and the online community will cover the whole region of the country. In the first year, offline rehabilitation activities will be held in Beijing and Shanghai, where medical resources are best available, and will be carried out in regions with a high cancer burden over five years.

I chose this topic because I have a family member who is a cancer patient, and in the process of accompanying my family member through treatment, I have noticed some of the pain that cancer patients in China are currently experiencing and the scope for improvement that can be made to alleviate that pain. I hope that this will help the cancer patient community to have a warm healing experience when they are already experiencing a low point. Therefore, I started with the emotions of cancer patients and focused on the positive feedback that communication between cancer patients brings to them and on the relationships between cancer patients.

Degree Details

School of DesignService Design (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, First floor


Hello, I am Chen, a service designer in the process of thinking and growing. With a background in science and engineering, I have been in contact with service design for five years. For me, as a new field, this has increased my awareness and understanding of myself and my life. I see service design as a discipline with infinite power and room for exploration, and I look forward to all the unknown challenges and innovations.