Supportive Care and Survivorship in patients diagnosed with melanoma

Summary

Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world and it is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer in both males and females. Melanoma has excellent survival rate, as it is most frequently diagnosed at an early stage. Survival of patients with advanced melanomas has improved in recent years, with the development of systemic therapies, specifically immunotherapy and targeted therapies. 

As we are moving closer to the Melanoma Institute Australia's goal of zero deaths from melanoma, consideration of quality of life and coping of the patients and their caregivers becomes paramount. Patients are living longer, often experiencing significant treatment side-effects, as well as significant uncertainty about their prognosis and survival. Poor adjustment to melanoma diagnosis and treatment can significantly impact on quality of life, ability to participate in daily activities, medical decision-making, treatment adherence, social and relationship functioning.  

Melanoma Institute of Australia is a world-leader of melanoma research and its' Supportive Care and Survivorship Theme focuses on research that aims to improve adjustment, coping and quality of life of melanoma patients and their caregivers, across all stages of disease (0-IV) as well as melanoma trajectory (from detection of suspicious lesion(s) to end of life). The aim is to produce high-quality, collaborative, multidisciplinary research that is informed by researchers, clinicians and consumers. The research will ultimately lead to the development of evidence-based interventions that will be routinely implemented in clinical practice and available to melanoma patients and their caregivers.

Supervisor(s)

Dr Iris Bartula

Research Location

Melanoma Institute Australia, Poche Centre, Wollstonecraft

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

The broad areas of research conducted as a part of Supportive Care and Survivorship Theme at Melanoma Institute include:
• Supporting patients diagnosed with melanoma and their caregivers. This includes understanding their support needs, developing assessments and treatments to address these.
• Supporting clinicians' needs in providing cutting - edge, wholistic treatment.
• Analysis of quality of life outcomes in medical clinical trials.

More specifically, the following research opportunities are offered:
• Understanding fatigue in melanoma patients on immunotherapy, including possible treatment targets for a multidisciplinary intervention. This opportunity is likely to use 2-year longitudinal design and is suitable as a PhD project.
• Describing and understanding anxiety in the context of regular scans that are often recommended during melanoma treatment and follow-up. This opportunity is most suitable as a Honours / MPhil project.
• Investigating and understanding barriers and facilitators for acceptance of psychological support in melanoma patients and caregivers. This is a suitable Honours / MPhil / PhD project.
• Investigating quality of life, supportive care needs and psychological adjustment in long-term melanoma survivors on immunotherapy.  

If potential students have a research idea that they are passionate about that fits in the broad areas of research outlined above, their research proposals will be considered. Please contact Dr Bartula to further discuss your research idea.

Additional Information

The suitable candidate would have background in medicine, science, public health, or psychology. The appointment of additional supervisors will depend on the research project chosen

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Keywords

melanoma, Cancer, Oncology, psycho-oncology, survivorship, supportive care, Quality of Life, adjustment, mental health, fear of cancer recurrence, fatigue, caregiver adjustment, distress

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2805