Travelling for Treatment

The Travelling for Treatment project aims to understand more about the experiences of regional Queenslanders who must travel to receive cancer treatment. Participants include guests staying at the Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) accommodation lodges and their carers.

The accommodation lodges are independent living facilities that provide a home away from home for those who need to travel to access cancer treatment. CCQ’s Viertel Cancer Research Centre worked alongside the Cancer Support and Information department and staff at six state-wide CCQ accommodation facilities to recruit patients to share their story.

The University of Southern Queensland is a study partner.

Study background

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.

Participants and project design

Over recent years, all patients who have stayed at the CCQ accommodation lodges and, if possible, their support person or carer, have been asked to participate in the study.

People who agree to take part are asked about the course of their cancer treatment starting with their diagnosis, as well as topics including their satisfaction with healthcare and quality of life. This is done through face-to-face telephone interviews and self-completed questionnaires that are mailed to participants when they join the study and then at 3 months, 12 months and annually thereafter until 5 years.

To capture a thorough understanding of the patient’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, signed consent of participants to access their Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data as well as records from the Queensland Cancer Register and relevant medical practitioners are also sought.

HREC reference number

Current status

Recruitment for the project began in 2017 and finished in 2020. A total of 810 cancer patients who stayed at the CCQ accommodation lodges and 252 carers agreed to participate. All participants are followed for 5 years after their diagnosis. By the end of 2022, the first participants will be entering their 5th and final year of follow up in the study.

For more information

For project questions, please contact the research team by calling (07) 3634 5344 or emailing

For any other questions or support please call Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20 between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).


Below are the peer-reviewed publications that have resulted from the Travelling for Treatment project. Click on the corresponding links to read more about each of the research papers and the implications for cancer control.

  1. Goodwin BC, Crawford-Williams F, Ireland M, March S, Chambers SK, Aitken JF, Dunn J. The quality of life of regional and remote cancer caregivers in Australia. European Journal of Cancer Care. 2022. doi: 10.1111/ecc.13587:e13587. Read summary
  2. Rowe A, Crawford-Williams F, Goodwin BC, Myers L, Stiller A, Dunn J, Aitken JF, March S. Survivorship care plans and information for rural cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 2022. doi: 10.1007/s11764-022-01204-0. Read summary
  3. Crawford-Williams F, Goodwin BC, Chambers SK, Aitken JF, Ford M, Dunn, J. Information needs and preferences among rural cancer survivors in Queensland, Australia: a qualitative examination. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2021. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.13163. Read summary
  4. Stiller A, Goodwin BC, Crawford-Williams F, March S, Ireland M, Aitken JF, Dunn J, Chambers SK. The supportive care needs of regional and remote cancer caregivers. Current Oncology. 2021; 28(4):3041-3057. doi: 10.3390/curroncol28040266. Read summary
  5. Goodwin BC, Chambers S, Aitken J, Ralph N, March S, Ireland M, Rowe A, Crawford-Williams F, Zajdlewicz L, Dunn J. Cancer-related help-seeking in cancer survivors living in regional and remote Australia. Psycho-Oncology. 2021. doi: 10.1002/pon.5643. Read summary
  6. Dunn J, Goodwin B, Aitken J, March S, Crawford-Williams F, Ireland M, Ralph N, Zajdlewicz L, Rowe A, Chambers SK. Are National Cancer Control Indicators for patient experiences being met in regional and remote Australia? A cross-sectional study of cancer survivors who travelled for treatment. BMJ Open. 2021. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042507. Read summary