Cancer patients should be more involved in research

Cancer patients should be given a role in the search to find new and better treatments for the disease, a leading researcher will tell a University audience tonight.

Professor Jessica Corner, who is delivering the 10th annual Ulster Cancer Foundation lecture at the University of Ulster's Coleraine campus on Wednesday, will confirm that the battle against cancer needs a new, broader agenda.

Professor Corner will say this should include:
  • The value of ‘lay’ involvement in cancer research to capture previously unexplored questions such as achieving earlier diagnosis and to systematically chart everyday problems and experiences.
  • The future direction of cancer research should be determined on the basis of full participation of the communities it seeks to serve – people who have been affected by cancer personally and may entail patients becoming researchers themselves.
  • Broadening the range of academic and professional disciplines that make up the ‘cancer sciences’ so that a fuller range of relevant issues are tackled by fostering alliances between social science, public health, health services research and biological and clinical sciences and investing in building and security capacity in new research areas.
  • The need to build direct links between health services and their development and cancer research - currently these tend to operate as separate processes.
However, the Professor of Cancer and Palliative Care at the University of Southampton’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, will stress that she is not undermining current cancer science practice.

“I wish to propose that cancer research should involve a broader community of participants, since different communities may bring fresh perspectives to the problems of cancer and could speed progress towards achieving the goal to develop deeper understanding about the disease and to develop new and better treatment”.

Professor Corner leads a research programme aimed at improving the care of people affected by cancer – researching people’s experiences of cancer, treatment and care, developing new approaches to managing the problems of living with cancer and improving end of life care.

She is also studying how people undergoing cancer treatment use complementary therapies and how lung cancer might be diagnosed earlier.

Well known for her research into developing a new approach to managing the symptom of breathlessness in advanced lung cancer, she was the first nurse to be awarded the Nuffield Trust’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Fellowship.


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