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  • Virtual nurse visits help young female cancer survivors

    Author: HealthTimes

Brisbane-based nurse Janine Porter-Steele will work face-to-face with young female cancer survivors across the country and she won't need to leave the office.

QUT has developed and is now trialling the Younger Women's Wellness after Cancer Program using virtual consultations to ensure women get the support they need.

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Led by Professor Debra Anderson, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), the 12-week program aims to encourage young women who have had breast or gynecological cancer to incorporate positive health behaviours in their everyday lives.

"We are seeking young women who are under 40 and are recovering from cancer to take part in the program," she said.
 
"In Australia around five per cent of all new cancer diagnoses each year involve young adults between 20 and 40 years of age and women within this age group represent the highest rate of cancer survivors."

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But Professor Anderson said there was a gap in support programs for young women recovering from cancer.

"Older women get more support because they are the larger group, but it is vital we don't forget younger women," she said.

"Women who have experienced cancer at a younger age face a number of age-specific issues such as physiological concerns about fertility, sexuality and body image.

"Younger women who go through chemotherapy are often thrown into menopause overnight and that has a significant effect on their physical and mental health.

"As a result, younger women have been found to have poorer outcomes in social-wellbeing, a greater likelihood of reporting clinical depression and heightened levels of anxiety and distress."

Professor Anderson said the Younger Women's Wellness after Cancer Program was interactive and individually tailored to each participant and included virtual consultations with a nurse.

"The program focuses on physical activity, healthy eating, better sleep and lifestyle habits, and improving quality of life," Professor Anderson said.

"Advances in the diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer have significantly improved survival rates and in some cases, such as early breast malignancies, transformed cancer from a fatal condition to a chronic and sometimes curable disease.
"We now need to be making sure we support these young women and assist them to lead full and healthy lives."
To take part in the study or for more information, visit here or email youngerwwp@qut.edu.au

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