New research set to improve the lives of prostate cancer survivors

Australian men and families impacted by prostate cancer are now set to benefit from federal funding for a world-first trial of a new survivorship care model. Photo by Kampus/Pexels.
23 November 2021

Prof. Jeff Dunn, President-elect of UICC, has been awarded a substantial grant to conduct a world-first trial of a new survivorship care model for prostate cancer patients.

PCFA CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO has been awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership grant of USD 1.13 million, which will be matched by  local, national and international health partners as part of a total injection of USD 2.25 million into the research.

Australian men and families impacted by prostate cancer are now set to benefit from federal funding for a world-first trial of a new survivorship care model, which will test the clinical and cost effectiveness of nurse-led survivorship care for improving the health and well-being of men on hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

Professor Dunn, who is also President-elect of UICC and Professor and Chair of Social and Behavioural Science at the University of Southern Queensland, said the four-year project would provide hope to thousands of men and their families impacted by prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men, with more than 230,000 men alive today after a diagnosis. 

“While survival rates have never been better, there are now more men diagnosed with prostate cancer living much longer, therefore the focus on survivorship care after treatment has never been more important. In addition to the substantial physical side effects, the supportive care needs of men on  hormone therapy are not adequately addressed or treated right now, with many men experiencing unmet informational, psychological, and sexual help needs.”
Prof. Jeff Dunn, President-elect of UICC and Professor and Chair of Social and Behavioural Science at the University of Southern Queensland.

Hormone therapy is widely used in the treatment of prostate cancer, with between 30- 50 per cent of all men diagnosed with the disease undergoing the treatment.

Although it slows disease progression and increases survival, hormone therapy can cause loss of muscle mass and bone density, sexual dysfunction, and other chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“Of concern, compared to men with prostate cancer who are not on hormone therapy, these men are more likely to develop mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, and are at a higher risk of suicide. PCFA’s Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service has around 100 nurses nationwide who help those affected by prostate cancer at all stages. This funding will allow us to establish whether we can develop even more tailored care  for men on hormone therapy, who face challenges unlike those experienced by other men with prostate cancer.”
Prof. Jeff Dunn, President-elect of UICC and Professor and Chair of Social and Behavioural Science at the University of Southern Queensland.

More than 200 men will participate in the trial, which will use an evidence-based survivorship framework, developed by the University of Southern Queensland, in collaboration with the PCFA and NHMRC’s Centre of Research Excellence in Prostate Cancer Survivorship.

It will be delivered by specially-trained PCFA nurses through four telehealth sessions over a four-week period, with a booster session a month later.

“All of us at UICC wish to warmly congratulate Jeff for this significant grant and the work he is doing to gain a better understanding of how specialised support and personalised care can enhance the quality of life of men undergoing hormone quality.”
Dr Cary Adams, CEO of UICC 

Last update: 
Tuesday 23 November 2021
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