Research into cancer stress
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.