Cancer Council NSW awards Dr Michelle Peate for new cancer research project

Congratulations to Dr Michelle Peate from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, who was one of 12 researchers who were awarded funding for new cancer research projects from Cancer Council NSW.

Dr Peate was awarded the funding for her project Improving the health and well-being of women cancer survivors.

Over 500,000 women in Australia are cancer survivors. Many experience short and long-term symptoms due to treatment which can affect day to day living. Menopausal symptoms (e.g. hot flushes and night sweats) are common after cancer. In reproductive aged women, chemotherapy for breast and blood cancers, surgery for endometrial or ovarian cancer, and radiation to the pelvic area for cervical or colorectal cancer, will generally cause menopause. The symptoms of menopause triggered by cancer treatment are often more severe than those experienced with natural menopause. Symptoms affect quality of life, daily function, sleep, mental health, intimate relationships and wellbeing. It can also increase risk of other health issues such as heart disease and decreased bone density.

Despite this significant health burden, most women do not receive effective support and treatment. Safe and effective treatments are available however, many patients and clinicians are unaware of these treatments or do not have access to care.

In this project, Dr Peate and her team will develop a new website that assesses symptoms and recommends care based on how severe the symptoms are (a process called stepped-care). The website will be designed for women cancer survivors to be the main users rather than health professionals. This will empower survivors to be in control of their symptom management and ensure all women can access this support.

The development of this website will improve health, well-being and quality of life of women cancer survivors.