New digital program to improve physical and mental well-being of young cancer survivors

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A digital program improving the physical and mental well-being of young people adjusting to life after cancer will be developed by the University of Queensland in partnership with cancer support organization Canteen.

The project BALANCE received $ 1.37 million from the National Board of Health and Medical Research.

Project leader Professor Sandie McCarthy of UQ’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work said the goal was to equip young people treated for cancer with the necessary knowledge and skills. to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Surviving cancer doesn’t necessarily mean young people can get back to their former health – they have to work for it.

Young people need mental health strategies to deal with the distress associated with their cancer experience.

As the program is motivated by the needs of young people, it will be designed and implemented in consultation with them. “

Professor Sandie McCarthy, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at UQ

About 5,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 have been diagnosed with cancer in Australia in the past five years and thanks to advances in treatment the survival rate is now almost 90%.

For these young people, they are more likely to face physical and mental health problems later in life than their peers.

Two-thirds will develop chronic health problems such as heart disease or respiratory disorders, while almost a quarter will experience mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.

Canteen’s Director General of Research, Policy and Patient Programs, Associate Professor Pandora Patterson, said BALANCE would help young cancer survivors achieve the same quality of life prospects as their peers.

“A young person’s cancer journey doesn’t end when treatment stops,” Associate Professor Patterson said.

“The physical and mental impacts of cancer treatment can be long term and affect all aspects of life.

“Advances in therapy have improved survival rates, but there remains a lack of formal support to help young people manage and overcome the potentially lifelong side effects of cancer treatment.

“Post-cancer care is often fragmented and compartmentalized, which makes it difficult for young people to access it.

“Canteen is thrilled to partner with researchers at UQ to develop a specially designed, evidence-based solution to help young people navigate the difficult sequelae of cancer treatment so they can continue to have the best quality of care. life. “

Source:

The University of Queensland


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