Going through cancer treatment, Beechworth's Harry Thomas at first felt puzzled why he would be asked to provide photographs.
Photos of himself, his house, his mode of transport, something that was important to him.
But this task, part of Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre research described as world-first, helped the clinical team learn more about him as a person, not just a patient.
This encouraged a more tailored, individual approach to supportive care.
"I felt as though everyone that I was speaking with understood who I was, how I might react to things and a lot about my nature and my character," Mr Thomas said.
"Yeah, it was good."
The Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre trust fund provided a $20,000 grant for the eight-month study, which involved 18 cancer patients 70 years and over and was completed in November last year.
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Nine patients were asked to provide photographs and these were analysed during 45-minute interviews.
Project lead, oncologist Associate Professor Christopher Steer said these discussions raised details not normally asked for in the routine medical assessment.
"Through the interview process we were able to create a document that then informed all the other members of the care team how to look after them better, that was the unique part of this project," he said.
"We've learned already that just by even having a photo of the person on the medical record and as we discuss them at meetings, it really personalises it and helps us to individualise supportive care for our patients, so it's already helped."
Further research would be needed before it could become standard practice.
"We can't just look at one side of them, for example, their cancer treatment, without looking at the person as a person and this is what we're trying to do through our research," she said.
Trust fund deputy chair John Watson praised the Albury-Wodonga study.
Mr Thomas, whose photos highlighted his love of skiing, his old ute and his racing car, said he did feel more supported after the process.
"And if that's what it's supposed to be doing, then it works," he said with a smile.
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