02:11pm Thursday 21 September 2017

Coming through cancer… together

Couple holding hands Second-year applied psychology PhD student Prema Nirgude is recruiting people who have overcome the illness, and their partners, to talk about how they coped following the diagnosis and supported one another during treatment.

The research could be used to develop new strategies for patients and their spouses who find it particularly difficult to cope during the dark days of the disease.

Prema said: “Breast cancer is known to have an often devastating effect not only on the patient but also close friends and family — in particular, because of the intimate nature of their relationship, the patient’s spouse is often seriously affected by the diagnosis.

“However, there is little research that demonstrates how the patient and spouse cope together and support one another after diagnosis. This research aims to explore the relationship to widen our understanding of coping and adjustment within the couple.

“This could be particularly important as previous studies have shown that strong support from a patient’s social network of friends and family can result in a more hopeful prognosis.”

Prema is appealing for patients who have overcome breast cancer and are now in remission — and their spouses and partners — to come forward to be interviewed about their experiences for the study.

Patients and their partners will either travel to the Institute of Work, Health and Organisations on the University’s Jubilee Campus or will be interviewed by a researcher in their own home, whichever they prefer.

Prema added: “The couples will be expected to talk about their experiences of dealing with breast cancer, particularly their social support, coping mechanisms and the impact on their relationship and how they coped — or perhaps did not cope — together. I am hoping that the chance to help future breast cancer patients may encourage people to come forward to volunteer for this important study.”

It is hoped that by examining the role of spousal support the researchers will be able to develop coping strategies that couples can use to help one another through the various stages of the disease and make recommendations to doctors on how they could better support patients and their partners.

Anyone interested in taking part in the research can contact Prema through the Institute of Work, Health and Organisations on 0115 846 7523 or by email at lwxpsni@nottingham.ac.uk

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

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More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news

Story credits

More information is available from Prema Nirgude on +44 (0)7428 765 339, lwxpsni@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Thorne

Emma Thorne – Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: King’s Meadow Campus


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