Cancer and palliative care

Cancer and palliative care

Cancer represents nearly one-fifth of the total burden of disease in Australia. Sydney Nursing School recognises the growing need for cancer and palliative care, particularly over the next decade. Our researchers are leaders in cancer and supportive care, improving outcomes that benefit optimal recovery for cancer patients and enabling high level expertise in palliative care. Our own Cancer Nursing Chair, Professor Kate White heads the team at the Cancer Nursing Research Unit, an innovative collaboration between Sydney Nursing School, the Cancer Institute of New South Wales and the Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Research spotlight: Supporting children when a parent has cancer

Cancer is life changing. A diagnosis of cancer can bring a range of emotions, new priorities and challenges, and the need to navigate complex treatments.

Critical for all involved in cancer care is the recognition that cancer does not occur in a vacuum - it has a major impact on family, friends and colleagues. When a parent has cancer, the whole family experiences cancer.

For a parent, there are many questions to answer. How much, and what to tell the children is a frequent concern. Do young children need different information to teenagers? What do we know about how children really feel regarding a cancer experience in the family? What is their understanding of the disease?

Managing day-to-day family life, one’s own emotional journey, as well as the needs of our children can be an enormous task. How can families, schools and health professionals help to support these needs?

In her Sydney Ideas seminar, Professor White spoke of the important role of healthcare professionals in recognising children’s support needs, and the integral role of family in building resilience for the child and the whole family.

Using her experience as a cancer nurse and research conducted in partnership with CANTEEN, Professor White addressed the key questions above and highlighted the needs of children and families whose lives are affected by this difficult disease.

You can listen to the lecture audio recording here.