Challenges in cancer survivorship - costs, inequalities and post-treatment follow-up (ICE Project)

Related staff: 
Dr Alison Pearce (former staff)
Dr Aileen Timmons (former staff)
Prof Linda Sharp (former staff)
Collaborators & co-investigators: 
Dr Pamela Gallagher, Dublin City University
Dr Michal Molcho, National University of Ireland Galway
Prof Ciaran O’Neill, National University of Ireland Galway
Dr Audrey Thomas, National University of Ireland Galway
Dr Leigh-Ann Sweeney, National University of Ireland Galway
Funding source: 
Health Research Board

Due to population ageing and trends in risk factors, the number of people diagnosed with cancer is growing. Survival for many cancers has improved over the last 20 to 30 years. Together these trends mean that an increasing number of people are living in Ireland with or beyond cancer.  As cancer treatments improve, people with cancer are able to complete primary treatment and resume their everyday activities – transitioning from ‘patient’ to ‘survivor’.  However, many survivors experience ongoing physical, cognitive and emotional issues and have continuing needs for medical and non-medical support and care.

This research programme aims to investigate three emerging areas which present particular challenges to the health services and society in relation to cancer survivorship:

  1. Acceptability, preferences and costs of alternative models of follow-up care for survivors of colorectal and prostate cancer
  2. Workforce participation and productivity losses in cancer survivors
  3. Inequalities in clinical and patient-reported outcomes between rural and urban cancer survivors

The programme is being undertaken by three HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Award research fellows specialising in different methodologies – epidemiology, health economics and health services research/psycho-oncology.  They will use a range of research methods to address the study aims, including literature reviews, surveys, qualitative interviews with patients and care providers, and health economic modelling.

This programme addresses a number of key challenges to the health care system in providing appropriate and adequate care to cancer survivors.  It will:

  • provide information about the best way to structure follow-up services for those who have completed their cancer treatment;
  • Inform decision-makers about the most cost efficient way to provide these follow up services;
  • Quantify the lost productivity following cancer and its treatments;
  • Identify differences in the survivorship needs of individuals and services provided in rural and urban communities.
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