These personas were crafted to inform the development of, an online community for people with Cancer in the Netherlands.



  • Newly Diagnosed
  • 41 years old woman, in a relationship with Willem who is  a 43 year old IT professional.
  • Diagnosed 3 weeks ago with stage 2 Breast Cancer
  • Seeks support and positive examples but does not want to see negative or upsetting information.
  • Willem wants to know as much as he can about the condition and the risks and benefits of treatment options.

Maartje is a 41 year old psychologist. She was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast cancer 1 month ago. She lives with her partner, Willem and their dog Poopje. She and Willem have lived together for 5 years. Willem is works in IT for an insurance company, he uses technology regularly in his work. Maartje has always been active and healthy and she is sad to think about a surgery that will maim her body.

Maartje was diagnosed with breast cancer after going in for her first mammogram. The radiologist saw some issue on the mammogram and recommended a biopsy. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Her oncologist recommends that she undergo surgery immediately to either just remove the cancer tissue or a more radical procedure, a modified radical mastectomy to be followed by radiation. She is of course upset and unsure what to do. She’s not ready to confront a lot of information or read negative stories. Her need now is to learn about experiences of people who have made it through.

Willem is also upset and worried but he wants to know as much as he can about the condition. He wants to know about the risks and benefits of each treatment.

Maartje wants to connect with some other women who have successfully gone through treatment. Even more importantly, she wants to avoid negative information and stories that might trouble her further.


  • Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 9.37.24 AM72 year old, widower and retired high school teacher.
  • Prostate cancer patient
  • Ongoing complications and symptoms including back pain, spinal cord compression and nerve impairment in his bowel and bladder

Jan is 72 year old widower and retired history teacher with three adult children. His wife passed away 2 years ago. One of his daughters lives nearby and helps him regularly. He underwent a TURP procedure six months ago after being diagnosed with Stage II prostate cancer. He was not a candidate for a radical prostatectomy because of his age and cardiac status. Mentally, he is fine and he enjoys communicating with family and friends on the computer.

Recently, he was having a lot of lower back pain, urinary retention and increasing weakness in his legs and went to the doctor. A bone scan reveals bone metastasis in the lower spine. He was rushed into treatment to avoid permanent damage that can lead to paralysis. In addition to a steroid treatment, of dexamethasone and targeted radiation, he has to be monitored closely and limit his activity to reduce the chance of injury

Jan wants to know as much as he can about his condition and his treatments. Also as a result of having his movements limited, Jan is spending more time online. He is interested in reading all the newest research on prostate cancer and understanding what all his treatments do. In the past, when he went online, he found the information difficult to find and a bit confusing. He has not given up, but would like to find a clear site, that is easy to navigate.

He is not particularly interested in meeting other people for support. That said, he does help organize regular meetings through the SCP for patients to learn more about their condition and just spend time together. He sees one group of men regularly. They talk more about their lives, sports, whatever, less about Prostate Cancer directly. And, more and more, he depends on support from family, friends and his church for socialization, meals and support.