Helping prostate cancer survivors in disadvantaged areas

Melinda Craike will study the feasibility of a brief, nurse-led behaviour change intervention to increase physical activity for prostate cancer survivors living in disadvantaged communities

  • Topic: Prostate cancer
  • Institution: Victoria University
  • Country: Australia
  • Status: Ongoing

Grant title

Can nurse led interventions improve physical activity in prostate cancer survivors living in disadvantaged communities?

Background

In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and 95 out of 100 men with prostate cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis. The proportion of prostate cancer survivors who experience poor mental health and low quality of life is higher in disadvantaged communities compared with more wealthy communities. Physical activity can improve physical function and quality of life of cancer survivors and is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer death. However, a recent study of Australian prostate cancer survivors found that only 12 per cent are getting enough physical activity. Furthermore, adults living in disadvantaged communities participate in less physical activity than those from wealthy communities. Therefore, it is important that strategies to improve physical activity are tested among prostate cancer survivors living in disadvantaged communities to address health inequities. Providing brief physical activity counselling in primary healthcare settings is successful at increasing physical activity among adults living in disadvantaged communities. Our previous studies found that prostate cancer survivors value the recommendation of physical activity from cancer nurses. Thus, in the current study, we will assess whether a brief, nurse-led physical activity intervention for prostate cancer survivors living in disadvantaged communities can be delivered in clinical care.

Aims and objectives

The aim is to test whether a brief, nurse-led intervention can be delivered in hospitals in disadvantaged communities. Objectives are to:

  1. Test a brief nurse-led physical activity intervention for prostate cancer survivors living in disadvantaged communities.
  2. Determine whether the intervention can be delivered in clinical care.
  3. Determine whether the study procedures can be carried out.
  4. Use these findings to decide whether to undertake a full trial.

How it will be done

The project will be based in two hospitals, Western Health and Bendigo Health, which service some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia. Ms Ilana Hornung, Cancer Services Manager at Western Health, and Dr Robert Blum, Director of Medical Oncology at Bendigo Health, will encourage clinicians and cancer nurses at the health services to be involved in the project. We will assess whether the intervention and study processes can be carried out using a range of sources of information.

Potential impact

If successful, our intervention will improve outcomes among prostate cancer survivors living in disadvantaged communities, who experience poorer mental health and quality of life than those from wealthy communities. This is the first physical activity intervention in the world to focus on prostate cancer survivors from disadvantaged communities, who our previous research shows are less likely be involved in physical activity interventions. Therefore, the first step is to assess whether a brief intervention, designed to be delivered in clinical care by cancer nurses and for fast conversion into routine patient care, can be delivered. A comprehensive strategy will be developed to distribute the progress and findings of this research. Prof Craike, through her senior role in the Australian Health Policy Collaboration, is best placed to ensure the findings are incorporated into healthcare policy.