Coping with cancer a click away

Surfing the web for helpful advice and support to get through cancer is one click away with the launch of a new Flinders open-access website.

Finding My Way, a new portal developed by Flinders University psychology postgraduate Dr Lisa Beatty, will be launched at a public lecture at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC) at Bedford Park tomorrow (6pm-7.30pm on Tuesday, 21 February 2017).

UK expert in behavioural medicine, Professor Nick Hulbert-Williams, from the University of Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health, will open the free public lecture on how psychology can have a real impact in cancer treatment.

The “Getting your head around cancer” lecture will then hear about the features and development of the new website, which commenced 12 years ago and concluded with four years of multi-site NHMRC-funded trials around Australia.

FCIC research fellow Dr Beatty says there is big demand for psychological support for cancer patients but this is often hampered by a shortage of services and some people’s unwillingness or inability to access psycho-social services.

“It isn’t easy for everyone to access these services, and the demand is great,” Dr Beatty says.

“The internet has become a universal source of information around the world and some people with cancer have a strong preference to try to manage on their own terms.

“For all forms of cancer, there are a lot of people struggling to cope with things like dealing with the emotional stress of diagnosis and treatment, common symptoms and side-effects, dealing with medical system, and even how to support loved ones.”

The Finding My Way website, supported and maintained by Flinders Foundation, is one of the first websites dedicated to giving comprehensive self-help resources to all cancer types.

Dr Beatty says it aims to bridge a gap in psycho-social cancer services in Australia.

She says it is being studied for further possible adaptations overseas, as well as for possible development of an alternative web resource model for advanced breast cancer patients.

The project, which started 12 years ago, led to an earlier workbook resources for women and has expanded into a general non-medical resource for all cancer patients.

Flinders University-trained psychologist Dr Lisa Beatty is a Cancer Council SA Postdoctoral Fellow (Cancer Support) at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer.

The FCIC is located near Flinders Medical Centre (see map at the link).

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