On the eve of World Cancer Day, University of South Australia researchers are calling for more support for cancer survivors, who often feel the physical and mental impacts of their disease long after treatment has finished.
Based at UniSA’s Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, PhD candidate Imogen Ramsey’s research focuses on supporting cancer survivors by trying to understand, at a population level, the challenges they face.
She says the good news is that people are living longer from diagnosis, with the five-year cancer survival rate now at 68 per cent in Australia but there’s now a huge gap in what we know about people who survive cancer and what it looks like in reality.
How long do they live for; how well do they survive? What are the long-term impacts of the often highly toxic treatment they have received? How do they recover from the psychological toll of battling the disease and the lingering fear of cancer returning?
We don’t have answers to these questions. This means that as a healthcare system, we can’t adequately support cancer survivors – who make up a significant portion of the population – as we do not know what services they need.
In South Australia for example, if you filled the entire Adelaide Oval, about 50,000 people; that’s the number of people who are living as cancer survivors in our State right now.” Imogen Ramsey, Ph.D. candidate, UniSA’s Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre
Ramsey, together with supervisor Dr. Nadia Corsini, have recently developed the first consensus on how to measure the quality of life of cancer survivors. Working with clinicians, consumers (cancer patients and survivors) and academics Australia-wide, the researchers have established 12 key areas (called domains) that can be used to assess how a cancer survivor is tracking across the board. Related Stories
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