Health Systems and Behavioural Research Program

The Health Systems and Behavioural Research Program is focused on improving cancer prevention and detection behaviour and supportive care for people with cancer and their caregivers with a strong focus on addressing social and geographic inequities in cancer-related outcomes.

Travelling for Treatment

Cancer diagnosis in rural and regional Australia is unfortunately associated with poorer survival rates and lower quality of life when compared to metropolitan areas. This is concerning, considering 30% of all Australians live outside a major population centre. The reasons for this disparity are not understood, but are likely to include a range of factors such as access to services, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors, unique to non-metropolitan Australians, that exacerbate the challenges associated with living with and treating cancer.

In 2017, the Travelling for Treatment project was commenced to help address these concerns. The project is a longitudinal investigation into the experiences of regional and rural cancer patients and their carers who must travel far from home to receive healthcare. The project aims to provide a deeper understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by regional Queenslanders affected by cancer.

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Bowel Cancer Screening

One in 13 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime. If it is diagnosed early, five-year relative survival rates following treatment are higher than 90%. Improving early diagnosis of bowel cancer is key to improving survival, reducing deaths, and reducing healthcare costs associated with treatment.

Participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) is strongly linked to improved survival from bowel cancer in the Australian population; however, only 4 in 10 people complete and return their faecal occult blood test (FOBT) kits. Our research aims to identify and address the barriers to participation in the NBCSP.

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