Scientists at Southampton are conducting the first study of its kind to gain a better understanding of the experiences and needs of cancer survivors. Using evidence gained from 1,000 participants, the research will inform healthcare practice to help people get the best out of life once their treatment is over.
Advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment mean more and more people are surviving cancer; there are an estimated two million people living with, or beyond, cancer in the UK. However, the issues faced by those who have completed treatment has received little attention until now.
Senior Research Fellow Dr Deborah Fenlon, who is leading the study, explains: "The general focus for cancer research has been on cure and prevention of the disease. But it is absolutely imperative we understand the experiences of cancer survivors in order to positively inform the professionals who support them."
The study, conducted by researchers from the University's Macmillan Survivorship Research Group, is looking at people's experiences following primary treatment of colorectal cancer. The participants will be followed over a two-year period to establish the natural history of the recovery of their health and wellbeing and to assess how quickly they regain their quality of life after colorectal cancer.
The results will, for the first time, inform healthcare providers and professionals across the country about what helps or hinders quick and effective recovery. It will also help to identify areas where the development of new interventions could help those at risk of experiencing problems.
The study forms part of a trio of research projects being undertaken by the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group, which is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.