New cancer study looks at impacts on families

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Survivors of cancer and their family members are being sought for a new study into the difficult decisions patients and their families need to make in dealing with cancer.

The study, by the University of Adelaide, Cancer Council Australia and Cancer Voices Australia, hopes to provide information to enable better support of families and patients in the decision-making process.

"Following a diagnosis of cancer, both the patient and their family experience considerable stress," says Dr Jaklin Eliott, Visiting Research Fellow at the University's School of Psychology and Social Scientist with Cancer Council Australia.

"There are significant responsibilities and burdens upon the family who are called on to physically, financially and emotionally care for the patient, to negotiate with hospital staff and participate in decisions about treatment options and a range of other issues.

"There are big decisions to be made about the best care for patients but these decisions also affect the families, and families take an important role in making those decisions."

Dr Eliott says that conflict can arise between the patient's needs and the potential consequences on their family's financial circumstances, quality of life and other circumstances.

"There have been many calls for healthcare teams to address the role of family in cancer care but there has been little research to date which seeks to identify and explore the issues and decisions families find difficult," she says.

"The aim of this interview study is to identify and explore those decisions identified as being difficult. The focus of the interview will be upon what factors contributed to, or countered, the difficulties faced."

People who have successfully completed treatment for cancer and their families interested in participating in the study should contact Dr Jaklin Eliott during office hours on 8303 3855 or email

Further information about the study can be found at


Contact Details

Dr Jaklin Eliott
Senior Lecturer
School of Public Health
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3855
Mobile: +61 413 565 637

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814