An Ingham Institute researcher has been declared the “best of the best” at one of Australia’s largest cancer research conferences.
Clinical Cancer Registry researcher Kirsten Duggan recently received the “Best of the Best Award for Oral Presentations – Lung Cancer”, at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s 41st Annual Scientific Meeting.
The COSA event is the one of the biggest conferences on the Australian cancer research calendar.
Ms Duggan was selected for the award for evaluating the patterns of palliative and psychosocial care in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
Ms Duggan said the research consisted of data from south-west Sydney and particularly that of the patients at Liverpool Hospital’s cancer therapy centre.
“It [non-small cell lung cancer] is a particular sub-group of cancer that affects the majority of patients,” she said.
“About 85 per cent of patients have that type of cancer and because it is such a large number we decided to focus our research on it.”
Ms Duggan said the study showed patients should have a connection with palliative care and psychosocial services towards the end of their lives.
“We found that for both palliative care and psychosocial care, our referral rates are quite high in south-west Sydney,” she said.
“And it was higher here than in any other parts of Australia.
“There is a growing body of evidence that shows that interactions with these services have better outcomes for the patients, especially in terms of reduced psychological distress.”
The study showed that there were also referral gaps, which warranted further investigation.
“I guess this is because our palliative care and oncology-specific ports are well integrated in our [Liverpool’s] cancer therapy centre,” she said.
“The next step would be to expand the study to look at what treatments the patients receive, whether it be chemotherapy or radio therapy, and to see whether or not it would be appropriate for the patients in terms of the end of their life.”
Professor Michael Barton OAM, Research Director at the Ingham Institute, congratulated Ms Duggan or the significant achievement.
“Kirsten’s ability to provide the evidence base for improved care for people affected by cancer is recognised by this COSA Award. It is a very well deserved achievement and demonstrates Kirstens’ high-level talent and contribution to cancer research,” added Professor Barton.
Interview with Kirsten Duggan: