The quality of care provided to care to cancer survivors will be the burning issue at the first of Flinders University’s Fearless Conversations, which returns for 2022.
Lynn Cameron, The Advertiser, 1 February 2022
Julie McCrossin has survived cancer – but her struggles didn’t end when the treatment stopped.
After beating stage four oropharyngeal cancer of her tonsils, tongue and throat nearly 10 years ago, the Hallett Cove-based broadcaster found herself dealing with the emotional and physical fallout of the disease.
“Surviving cancer is about much more than simply being alive,” said McCrossin, who is an ambassador for Head & Neck Cancer Australia.
“After radiation therapy cured my throat cancer nine years ago, I needed a team of health professionals to help me learn to speak and swallow again, manage my fear of recurrence, look after my heart health, support my return to work and get me exercising to recover physically.”
As Flinders University revives its Fearless Conversations this week, McCrossin is leading the discussion on the question: Do cancer survivors get enough care?
The talk – which follows on from last year’s successful 13-week campaign – will look at how health services can help survivors of a disease that will directly affect one in two Australians by the age of 85.
McCrossin, who has appeared on ABC TV and radio, will be joined on the panel by Flinders University oncologist Professor Bogda Koczwara, clinical psychologist Associate Professor Lisa Beatty and research support officer Vikki Bedford, along with Professor Raymond Chan, director and professor of cancer nursing at the Caring Futures Institute.
“There is very good data telling us that many cancer survivors have unmet medical and healthcare needs,” Prof Chan said.
“Many have psychosocial issues stemming from the fact they deal with a fragmented care system. Then there are the side effects of cancer treatments, which are very toxic.
“A colleague’s recent study demonstrated that many cancer survivors later die of heart disease and have increased odds of heart failure because of the treatment.”
Register for Fearless Conversations at flinders.edu.au/fearless/conversations