16 November 2018

The issues faced by millions of people living with and after cancer need to be identified and addressed, a conference has heard.

According to the UK’s National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), there is currently very little research on the problems people face during and post-cancer treatment.

Dr Feng Li of the NCRI presented research at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference, Glasgow, recommending a set of ten new research priorities that have been developed by cancer patients, carers, doctors and nurses.

Dr Feng Li told delegates the questions include: how can treatment side-effects, such as fatigue, be prevented or managed? What is the impact on mental health? Can lifestyle changes restore patients’ health? Can we predict who will experience side effects?

 “The fact that millions of people are living with and beyond cancer is testament to the success of research on treatment and diagnosis,” she said.

 “However, many of these people are living with the side-effects of cancer and treatment, and suffering from poor quality of life.

“There are not enough researchers studying these issues and there’s very little funding currently available for this work. This is an enormous gap in our knowledge and it’s one that can only begin to be filled if we have a starting point. We’ve looked at cancer research in the UK but the situation is similar around the world.”

The NCRI carried out a two-year project in partnership with the James Lind Alliance to determine priorities for research that will help people to live better with and beyond cancer. The process included UK-wide surveys which attracted more than 3,500 responses.

The final ten priorities were chosen at a workshop involving patients, carers, and health and social care professionals. The NCRI is now working with its partner organisations, other funders, researchers and the NHS to translate the priorities into research and patient benefit.

More information about the project and the top 10 list of research priorities can be found at https://www.ncri.org.uk/lwbc/

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