Re­search into can­cer stress

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

RU­RAL and re­gional Queens­lan­ders will greatly ben­e­fit from new can­cer re­search to pro­vide bet­ter web-based men­tal health ser­vices.

Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land has part­nered with Grif­fith Univer­sity to ex­am­ine the ef­fec­tive­ness of web-based sup­port for can­cer pa­tients suf­fer­ing dis­tress.

The coun­cil’s spokes­woman, Katie Clift, said the re­search was cru­cial, with a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the state’s can­cer pa­tients suf­fer­ing emo­tional dis­tress af­ter di­ag­no­sis.

“Re­search shows at least one-third of can­cer pa­tients ex­pe­ri­ence clin­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant dis­tress, but few seek treat­ment for it,” she said.

“The emo­tional im­pact of can­cer on pa­tients, fam­i­lies and the com­mu­nity has largely been over­looked, de­spite po­ten­tially se­ri­ous con­se­quences.

“On­line in­ter­ven­tion is a cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to face-to-face or tele­phone coun­selling, and gives pa­tients an­other op­tion in sup­port­ive care af­ter can­cer.

“Web-based sup­port also has the po­ten­tial to greatly ben­e­fit ru­ral and re­gional Queens­lan­ders who aren’t able to ac­cess suit­able ser­vices in their lo­cal area.”

The in­ter­ven­tion will be tai­lored to the needs of in­di­vid­u­als, with re­sources and in­for­ma­tion of­fered in ac­cor­dance to pa­tients’ needs.

The study, Im­prov­ing Ac­cess to Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ser­vices for Peo­ple with Can­cer, was funded by the National Health and Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil, and will be com­pleted in two phases.

The re­search al­lows for the full de­vel­op­ment and test­ing of web-based in­ter­ven­tion to im­prove psy­cho­log­i­cal out­comes in can­cer pa­tients.

Grif­fith Univer­sity’s Pro­fes­sor Suzanne Cham­bers said the web pre­sented a great and unique op­por­tu­nity for sup­port­ive care de­liv­ery.

“To our knowl­edge, this type of in­ter­ven­tion has not been widely ex­am­ined – so we look for­ward to the re­sults – which will in­form fu­ture op­tions for Queens­land can­cer pa­tients,” she said.

The joint study was one of 11 fed­eral projects to be funded to­talling $7.9 mil­lion an­nounced by Fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Tanya Plibersek last week.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.can­cerqld.org.au.

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