Brookes researchers involved in the largest ever study into the impact of prostate cancer

Tuesday, 04 November 2014

prostate cancer movember logos

Researchers at Oxford Brookes University are to play a key role in a pioneering new research project named ‘Life after prostate cancer diagnosis’, funded by the Movember Foundation in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK

Announced as millions of people across the globe start sprouting the annual Movember campaign moustaches, the project will commit up to £2.2 million to identify what life is really like for the 250,000 men living with and beyond the  disease in the UK, and what steps can be taken to improve it.

The largest study of its kind in the UK, researchers will analyse the experiences of more than 100,000 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer between one and three years ago.

They aim to identify how a diagnosis of prostate cancer impacts a man’s daily life, and work out which factors lead to poorer outcomes for some. By highlighting any gaps in support and care services, the results will help shape changes to improve prostate cancer care in the future.

We will use the results to make sure all men in the UK can get the support they need.

Dr Sarah Cant, Director of Policy and Strategy at Prostate Cancer UK

The project is to be led by Dr Adam Glaser at the University of Leeds, and Dr Anna Gavin at Queen’s University Belfast, who will also be working with researchers at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Southampton and Public Health England.  

Eila Watson, Professor in Supportive Cancer Care at Oxford Brookes University is part of the survey development team and will be contributing to the qualitative research element of the survey which will include in-depth interviews with men and partners to complement the wider survey.  Professor Watson will be leading on ensuring the men in the study represent all communities and backgrounds.

Professor Watson said: This is a very exciting initiative.  It’s great news that men with prostate cancer are now living for longer, but we need a better understanding of the issues men face in the years following diagnosis and treatment and the impact prostate cancer has on their quality of life.  This study will give us the opportunity to ask men of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the UK what things are really like for them, what issues are most important, and where any gaps in services and support are -  thus allowing us to improve care for men diagnosed in the future.

The ‘Life after prostate cancer diagnosis’ project will build on a pilot study led by the English Department of Health in 20121, which showed significant variation in how men were affected by prostate cancer, the level of impact of the disease on their lives, and how they coped with it. It will take the form of a confidential postal survey sent to men across all four UK nations.

Questions will cover topics such as wellbeing and attitude towards their illness, impact of the cancer and its side effects on every day life, reflections on choice of treatment and impact of other long term conditions.  The project itself is also part of a much wider global Movember initiative, with similar studies planned so far in Ireland and Australia. All the information will eventually be pooled to enable the teams to learn from men’s experiences across different countries.