Get­ting a fair deal for can­cer pa­tients

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

A PRO­JECT that aims to more closely align what can­cer pa­tients want from their treat­ment with how treat­ment is pro­vided has se­cured a Can­cer Coun­cil WA re­search grant.

Como res­i­dent and Curtin Univer­sity health econ­o­mist As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Richard Nor­man has won a $38,000 col­lab­o­ra­tive grant to lead the pro­ject, in con­junc­tion with Matthew An­stey and Ar­man Harsani at Sir Charles Gaird­ner Hos­pi­tal and As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor Ian Li at UWA’s School of Pop­u­la­tion Health.

As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Nor­man said the pro­ject arose out of known in­equities in health out­comes and ac­cess to care for some can­cer pa­tients, par­tic­u­larly for the highly spe­cialised ar­eas of on­col­ogy.

He said the first step in this pro­ject was to ex­am­ine what as­pects of can­cer care were most im­por­tant to pa­tients.

“We know that can­cer pa­tients value fac­tors like travel time and con­sult­ing a doc­tor they are fa­mil­iar with, but these types of fac­tors are cur­rently not mea­sured or con­sid­ered in the de­ci­sions made about the care and treat­ment of a pa­tients,” he said.

“We want to show the re­search com­mu­nity and pol­icy mak­ers that fac­tors such as these are im­por­tant and should be con­sid­ered in plan­ning de­ci­sions about treat­ment be­cause they can make a dif­fer­ence to health out­comes.”

As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Nor­man said they were try­ing to erad­i­cate the ‘post­card lot­tery’ where pa­tients who lived close to hos­pi­tals found it eas­ier to re­ceive treat­ment and were more likely to have a bet­ter health out­come.

As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Richard Nor­man.

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