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Research partnerships take prostate cancer fight head on

Professor Jeff Dunn.
Professor Jeff Dunn.

Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia - overtaking breast cancer – and the University of Southern Queensland is at the forefront of the response, from intervention treatment trials to virtual care models.

A problem shared is a problem halved – that’s the approach the University of Southern Queensland’s Professor Jeff Dunn is leading with when it comes to facing one of our country’s biggest health crises.

Data released this month by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates 24,217 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, compared to 20,640 women diagnosed with breast cancer.

“More than 3,500 Australian men will die of prostate cancer this year, but with concerted action, many of these deaths can be avoided,” he said.

“We need to bring together government, health services, and patients to create a new way forward and from our University of Southern Queensland campuses, we are playing a significant part in this.”

Through a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), Professor Dunn has been appointed as the PCFA/University of Southern Queensland Chair in Cancer Survivorship.

“This is more than just a title – it’s recognition of the work we’ve done and are continuing to do in prostate cancer research and prevention at our University,” he said.

“One example is our world-first study Prostate Cancer Survivorship Essentials, or PCEssentials, which is a National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership Project led by the University of Southern Queensland the PCFA.

“PCEssentials integrates evidence-based strategies to improve men’s quality of life outcomes after hormone therapy. We want to implement and test the new PCEssentials intervention for men to identify if it improves the quality of life for men and their ability to support their own health and wellbeing.”

The University of Southern Queensland is also partnering with the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service to test the acceptability of a Virtual Care platform, to support men treated for prostate cancer to stay at home and out of hospital.

66 Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day and Professor Dunn said national health data shows that men living in regional or rural of Australia have approximately 24% higher rate of dying from prostate cancer than their urban counterparts.

“The University of Southern Queensland has a strong record of innovation and breakthrough health research, all from our regional campus locations working hand in hand with the communities we live in,” he said.

“This puts us in an incredibly strong position to continue to take the lead on this nationally significant health issue and improve the outcomes for Australian men in the future.”