Rural recruits needed for cancer study

Kate Gunn in rural SA.

Kate Gunn in rural SA.
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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A University of Adelaide researcher is seeking recruits for a study of cancer patients living in the State's rural areas to help improve facilities and support services for these people.

Masters of Clinical Psychology student Kate Gunn is hoping to identify the unique challenges faced by rural cancer sufferers, who comprise a third of all people living with cancer in Australia.

"The burden is disproportionately heavy for cancer patients in rural and regional areas," Kate says. "They usually have to travel long distances for treatment, which means they are away from friends, family and normal sources of social and psychological support."

"This isolation may increase their levels of distress and also persuade some patients to stay put and not access the recommended treatment, which increases their risk of poor treatment outcomes.

"We need cancer patients to tell us how their experience can be made easier and what services are needed to help them cope."

The study will focus on patients' social, emotional and psychological needs.

Kate says her findings will pinpoint the specific services and resources lacking in rural areas for cancer patients.

Professor Ian Olver, Cancer Council Australia CEO and co-supervisor of Kate's project, says previous studies have shown that outcomes for rural cancer patients can be worse than for their city counterparts and this inequity must be addressed.

Professor Deborah Turnbull, Ms Lindsay McWha and Dr Matthew Davies are also co-supervisors.

Confidential interviews will be done in either the patient's rural community or at the Cancer Council's offices in Adelaide.

"I am particularly keen to hear from cancer patients who are not coping well and who have suggestions for how the existing services in rural areas can be improved," Kate said.

For more information about the study, or to see if you are eligible to participate, please contact Kate Gunn on 0417 852 537 or

Cancer Council Helpline: 13 11 20 (phone lines are open Monday-Friday 8.30am-8pm).


Contact Details

Kate Gunn
PhD student
School of Psychology
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: 0417 852 537

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762