$4.4 Million Funding to Improve Cancer Care and Prevention

Nov 26 2015

Two Hunter-based research teams from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health have scored $4.4 million in Cancer Council NSW funding to improve cancer service and prevention delivery.

Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher AO, head of the University of Newcastle’s Health Behaviour Research Group and co-leader of HMRI’s Public Health program, receives $2,234,525 over five years to investigate the quality of care and information that patients receive, aiming to lessen the emotional burden.

Professor John Wiggers from the HNE Population Health unit and the University of Newcastle has been granted $2,203,986, also over five years, to run a community-based study aimed at reducing primary risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and obesity.

Cancer Council NSW announced the funding during a research forum at Merewether yesterday as part of their 2016 program grants, which has provided almost $9 million to NSW researchers.

Laureate Professor Sanson-Fisher believes there is currently a gap between care delivery and patient expectations at cancer clinics around the State.

“Many of the cures we’re currently thinking of might take anywhere from between five to 20 years to be available, so for all those people undergoing cancer treatment we should be trying to make their life, and their quality of life, better,” Laureate Professor Sanson-Fisher said.

“A simple example is whether or not people are being told their diagnosis in a way they can remember and understand, and which gives them a good estimate of how long they’ve got – most patients feel this is important but there’s data suggesting it’s not the information they’re getting.”

The project will bring together a multidisciplinary team from the University of Sydney, Calvary Mater Newcastle and HMRI.

The funding will also allow Professor Wiggers to work with schools, child-care providers, medical practices and sports clubs, along with policymakers from the NSW Government and Cancer Council, to better integrate well-proven prevention programs.

“Our aim is to improve access to interventions which help people reduce their cancer risks,” Professor Wiggers said. “Unfortunately there is little evidence about the best mechanisms to achieve that goal.

“The project builds on extensive research by our group but we’re proposing new initiatives that improve accessibility for the community.”

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.