The study, being led by University of Adelaide researchers, hopes to better understand the needs of women who have survived breast cancer, which could lead to improvements to their follow-up care.
“In Australia, the issue of follow-up is a critical issue,” says study leader Dr Taryn Bessen, a Radiologist and PhD student with the University’s Discipline of Public Health (School of Population Health and Clinical Practice).
“Outcomes of breast cancer treatment are improving, which is an excellent result for those women and their families affected by cancer, but it also means the pool of survivors is expanding. We need to ensure that the care needs of women are being met beyond the treatment of the breast cancer itself,” Dr Bessen says.
“Clinical cancer services around Australia are facing a rapid expansion in workload through a combination of factors. With an ageing population there are increasing numbers of women in cancer-prone ages, and due to early diagnosis and improved treatment outcomes, there is a growing pool of breast cancer survivors within Australia. Given the expanding need, it is particularly important for patients to have the opportunity to shape future directions in follow-up care for breast cancer.
“This study is investigating patients’ preferences for breast cancer follow-up after treatment. It will help to provide insights into what type of follow-up services women would prefer; including the value of developing ‘drop-in’ clinics to provide additional support; so that these can be considered in any new models of public health service provision,” Dr Bessen says.
Breast cancer survivors are urged to take part in a survey either online or in hard copy, which will take about 30 minutes to complete.
The survey can be found at: http://ua.edu.au/breast-cancer-survey or contact Dr Taryn Bessen on: 08 8313 0603.
This study is supported by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Cancer Council Australia, and Cancer Voices SA.