The three year project is funded through a prestigious Australian Research Council Linkage grant, and will be led by the Gender, Culture and Health Research Unit (PsyHealth) at the University of Western Sydney, in conjunction with the Medical Psychology Research Unit at Sydney University; Westmead Hospital; The Cancer Council NSW; and Carers NSW.
The study's Chief Investigator, Professor Jane Ussher from UWS, says most of the responsibility for day-to-day emotional support and care of cancer patients falls to partners, family members or friends.
"When you consider that last year alone, almost 85 000 Australians were diagnosed with cancer, the disease has a massive flow-on impact throughout the community," says Professor Ussher.
"Supporting and taking care of a loved one diagnosed with cancer is extremely demanding, and can place a heavy burden on the emotional and physical resources of partners, family members and friends."
"Previous research conducted by the project team has indicated that depression and anxiety are widespread among carers, at a more severe level than experienced by cancer patients themselves.
"In addition to the impact this has on the quality of life of carers, this can also affect the quality of care that loved ones are able to provide to cancer patients, so it's important to give these people the support and resources they need to get through these difficult times."
Professor Ussher says the study will be the first to look at the specific experiences and needs of both male and female cancer carers in Australia.
"A far greater proportion of women
Contact: Lynda McKewen