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PACES research group

PACES research group

The University of Canberra’s PREHAB|ACTIVITY|CANCER|EXERCISE|SURVIVORSHIP (PACES) Research Group focusses their research activity on three distinct areas of cancer care research: prehabilitation, physical activity and cancer thrivership across the cancer care continuum.

The interdisciplinary clinical academic research group was established in 2019 with expertise in health services research, clinical trials, qualitative research and systematic reviews.

Our research is focussed on clinical problems in the real-world clinical setting of cancer and our research interventions are solution/improvement oriented. PACES programme of research is grounded in unmet supportive care need issues that are regarded as problematic or concerning to people affected by cancer, families/carers, healthcare professionals, healthcare managers, and policymakers. While the problem may usually be a health/clinical or service delivery issue, in some instances it may be a methodological problem that requires addressing in order to contribute to wider health services research.

Our researchers aim to:

  • undertake world-leading innovative research in cancer care.
  • support the University of Canberra’s Centre of Health Innovations in Practice (UC-HIP).
  • enhance the cancer research profile and reputation of the University.
  • provide a synergistic collaborative focus from a variety of academic disciplines related around the central theme of cancer care.
  • increase the institutional capacity for strategic cancer partnerships and collaborations externally and attracting external income and non-monetary support for cancer research and consultancy activities.

Enquiries

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Projects

Name Contact (Lead researcher)Description
Quality of Life after Prostatectomy. Dr Irmina Nahon Investigating various aspects of prostate cancer specifically regarding the impact of radical prostatectomy, expected outcomes, influence on incontinence and quality of life.

In men choosing radical prostatectomy for localised prostate cancer, does a multimodal pre-habilitation intervention give better functional and quality of life outcomes than usual care? A Pilot RCT

Funded by PCFA and the Generosity of It’s a Bloke’s Thing Foundation.
Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson

Background: Little is known about multimodal prehabilitation interventions in men affected by prostate cancer.

Aim:  A pilot RCT will assess the impact of a prehabilitation multimodal supportive care intervention in men opting for RP and their partners.

Methods: a two arm 1:1 prospective clinical trial will compare standard care to prehabilitation interventions.

Impact:  This study will have an immediate impact on care delivery in Canberra Health Services and provide much needed information to inform a definitive RCT trial.

What are the experiences and unmet needs of people affected by chemotherapy induced alopecia? A Systematic Review

Funded by PAXMAN and Regional Health.
Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson

Background:  Little is known about the unmet supportive care needs of both men and women affected by CIA.

Aim:  To systematically evaluate evidence regarding the unmet supportive care needs of men and women affected by chemotherapy induced alopecia (CIA).

Methods: A systematic review methodology reported according to PRISMA guidelines.

Impact: To inform clinical practice guidelines and models of supportive care for people affected by CIA.

Understanding the needs and preferences for cancer care among Aboriginal people:  A systematic review

Funded by Altruistic donations.
Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson

Background: Little is known about the unmet supportive care and preferences among Aboriginal people affected by cancer.

Aim: To systematically evaluate evidence regarding the unmet supportive care needs and preferences for cancer care among Aboriginal people affected by cancer.

Methods: A systematic review methodology reported according to PRISMA guidelines.

Impact: To inform clinical practice guidelines and models of supportive care.

What are the unmet supportive care needs of men and their loved ones affected by penile cancer?  A systematic review

Funded by Altruistic donations.

Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson

Background: Little is known about the unmet supportive care of men affected by penile cancer and their loved ones.

Aim: To systematically evaluate evidence to identify unmet supportive care needs.

Methods: A systematic review methodology reported according to PRISMA guidelines.

Impact: To inform clinical practice guidelines and models of supportive for people affected by rare cancers.
In patients with high risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer requiring intravesical bacillum Calmette-Guérin what is the optimum maintenance regime on oncological and quality of life outcomes? Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson

Background: Little is known about the optimum maintenance regime of bacillum Calmette-Guérin for high non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Aim: To systematically evaluate evidence to establish the optimum maintenance regime of bacillum Calmette-Guérin on oncological and quality of life outcomes in people affected by bladder cancer.

Methods: A systematic review methodology reported according to PRISMA guidelines.

Impact: To inform clinical practice guidelines.

The effects of individual prescribed tele health exercise on cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

Part-funded by FoH ECARD program
Dr Kellie Toohey

Background:The health outcomes of cancer patients who undertake an online tele health individually prescribed exercise program whilst going through chemotherapy have not been studied.

Aim: This study will look at the physical activity levels, quality of life, mental health and symptom experience of patients via tele health.

Methods: An RCT will compare an online tele health supervised exercise program to usual care in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Impact: This study will have an immediate impact on care delivery of patients undergoing chemotherapy and provide much needed information to inform a definitive RCT trial to change clinical practice
Identifying novel predictors of venous thromboembolism in cancer patients for improving disease prognosis. Dr Reza Mortazavi

Background: Ambulatory cancer patients, regardless of their cancer types or clinical conditions, are often classified as having a low risk for developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). Therefore, these patients often do not receive anticoagulant treatments. However, several factors, such as cancer type, chemotherapy, anaemia and other co-morbidities increase the risk of VTE in these patients, which may be life-threatening. There are some VTE risk assessment tools to identify those at-risk patients so that anticoagulant preventative measures are initiated timely. However, these tools have flaws and need to be improved.

Aim: To improve the current risk assessment tools for prediction of VTE in ambulatory cancer patients.

Methods: Cohort studies and case-control studies using the available clinical data for ambulatory oncology patients.

Impact: Improving the current VTE risk assessment tools in ambulatory cancer patients.
Physical Activity for Cancer Patients: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of General Practitioners in Australia. Dr Kellie Toohey

Background: Healthcare professionals’ (Oncologists, doctors and nurses) physical activity (PA) recommendations impact cancer patients PA levels.

Aim: This is the first study to explore GP’s knowledge, attitudes and practices of PA for cancer patients.

Methods: A systematic review methodology reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Followed by a questionnaire-based study.

Impact: To inform GP practice guidelines.

What are the unmet supportive care needs of women with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer?

A systematic review.

Part-funded by ACT Health
Prof Karen Strickland

Background: Women with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are living longer with 32% of women diagnosed with MBC surviving beyond 5-years (Cancer Australia, 2019).  In a culture focused on cure, the support needs of these women with stage 4 MBC are overlooked leaving them to feel isolated and invisible.

Aim: The purpose of this study is to; 1) examine the existing evidence to be able to understand the unmet supportive care needs of women living with stage 4 MBC and, 2) inform clinical practice guidelines and models of supportive care. nature of the interventions or the exposures to be reviewed.

Method: Rapid Review

Impact: Inform clinical practice guidelines

Understanding the experience of women with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer shared online.

Part- Funded by ACT Health
Prof Karen Strickland

Background: Women with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer MBC will continue to require support and treatment to live well with their condition, whilst in the knowledge that such treatment is not curative. In a culture focused on survivorship, the support needs of these women with stage 4 MBC can be overlooked leaving them to feel isolated and invisible. Many women turn to online platforms such a blogs and microblogs (Twitter) to share their experiences of living with MBC.

Aim: The purpose of this study is to present an analysis of the digital narratives presented by women living with stage IV MBC.

Method: We filtered results to show top tweets and latest tweets. Twitter determines ‘top tweets’ using an algorithm that determines how interesting the tweet is based on measurable interactions for a tweet (e.g., clicks, retweets, number of followers). We chose also to search ‘latest’ tweets to harvest the newer posts that had not yet had time to accumulate such impact. We conducted five separate searches for each term over the course of two weeks and varied the time of day of the search.

Impact: We hope to identify the women’s motivations for sharing their narratives online, and to provide a description of ways these women’s daily lives are impacted by their condition, as well as to identify any unmet supportive care needs.

Staff

NameDiscipline Research interests
Assoc Prof Rachel Bacon Nutrition and Dietetics Clinical education and community research, dietetics
Angela Braniff Consumer partner -
Prof Nick Brown Director of ACTH-UC Clinical School Movement analysis and motor control
Assoc Prof Paul Craft Medical Oncology Survival outcomes, evidence-based treatment breast cancer
Prof Sandra Hayes Senior Research Fellow, Menzies Health Institute Queensland Cancer survivorship issues, exercise oncology and epidemiology, understanding the epidemiology of cancer survivorship concerns (in particular lymphoedema), the role of exercise following cancer
Dr Jane Kellett Nutrition and Dietetics Oncology, palliative care, nutrition and dietetics
Assoc Prof Andrew McKune Human physiology Stress physiology, immunology and bioenergetics in adaptation to exercise in cancer stress responses
Dr Reza Mortazavi Diagnostic Pathology Diagnostic pathology, haematology and cardiovascular risk assessment
Dr Irmina Nahon Physiotherapy Physiotherapy, pelvic floor, prostate cancer, rehabilitation
Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson Nursing Uro-Oncology cancer care, clinical trials, systematic reviews, ecological momentary assessment, mixed methods, ehealth
Prof Stuart Semple Exercise Physiology Physical activity, CVD, exercise, immunology
Prof Karen Strickland Head of School, Nursing, Midwifery, Public Health Oncology nursing, palliative care, chronic disease, health services
Dr Kellie Toohey Exercise physiology Exercise physiology, physical activity, survivorship, chronic disease, rehabilitation, prehabilitation
Prof Desmond Yip (Adjunct) Medical Oncology Development of biological agents in cancer, renal cell carcinoma and GI cancers

HDR students

Name Project description
Georgie Britton Investigating the psychosocial effect of receiving enteral tube feeding on palliative head and neck cancer patients and their carer
Rebecca Cesnik Evaluating and increasing physical activity levels in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
Maddison Hunter Use of honey as a treatment of oral mucositis for oncology patients. This study includes reviews, protocol and human trials.
Melanie Moore Exercise for Haematological Cancer Patients
Tricia O’Connor An Exploration of Pain Assessment in Unresponsive Patients at End-of-life: Pain, Assessment Tools, and Nursing Interventions
Alesha Sayner           Physiotherapy prehabilitation and urinary incontinence in radical prostatectomy: The clinician and the consumer
Asma Zaheer Risk Assessment, Prediction and Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Ambulatory Cancer Patients with Solid Tumors
Ann Yan Predictors of risk and prognosis of venous thromboembolism in patients with lung cancer. This research project aims to study the epidemiology of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with lung cancer in Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and improve the current knowledge about the risk stratification of VTE in this group of patients.