Fear Not: Exploring strategies in psycho-oncology and managing fear of cancer recurrence

Published Joseph Green on Fri, 06/07/2024 - 08:42

29 May 2024

The Regional Cancer Partnerships Forum brings together regional health practitioners, researchers, and consumers, with a focus on addressing educational needs in cancer care. In this educational forum, we explore the latest insights and strategies for overcoming Fear of Cancer Recurrence (FCR).

Discover the latest insights and strategies for overcoming Fear of Cancer Recurrence (FCR)

From understanding the background, symptoms, risk factors, and prevalence of Fear of Cancer Recurrence (FCR) to exploring effective screening and assessment methods, learn approaches in treating patients experiencing FCR and progression, applying to both early and advanced diseases.

  • Gain insights into the psychological aspects of cancer survivorship, particularly the FCR, and its impact on mental health and well-being.

  • Learn approaches to empower cancer survivors in managing fear and anxiety associated with cancer recurrence, promoting a sense of control and improved quality of life.

  • An introduction to Fear-Less, a stepped care program treating patients experiencing fear of cancer recurrence and progression.

  • Hear about FCR prevalence within ovarian cancer, emphasising intervention needs and introducing the project adapting IConquerFear.

Acknowledgement of Regional Host

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Dr Jacquie Evans-Barker
Director of Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychologist, Barwon Health

In her role at Barwon Health, Dr Evans-Barker has professional and strategic oversight of psychologists and psychological services throughout all of Barwon Health including the Andrew Love Cancer Centre. She has worked within a regional public health service (Grampians Health, then Barwon Health) for around 16 years and is well aware of the unique challenges faced by regional patients trying to access oncology-specific care outside metropolitain areas. Clinically, Dr Evans-Barker has worked with many oncology patients, both adults and more particularly children and their families.

Dr Saji Joseph

Consultation Liaison Psychiatrist, Goulburn Valley Health

Since 2012, Dr Joseph has been working as a consultation liaison psychiatrist at the Goulburn Valley Hospital (GVH). He has been conducting a psycho-oncology clinic in liaison with the oncology department of GVH since 2017. This is the first such clinic in rural Victoria, run by local mental health service and the oncology department.

As part of his keen interest in psycho-oncology, Dr Joseph visited Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre (MSKCC), New York, USA in 2018 and completed a one-month clinical observership in psycho-oncology. Dr Joseph trained in Meaning Centred Psychotherapy at MSKCC, New York and has been practising the same in advanced cancer patients.

Dr Joseph is an accredited member of the Faculty of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrist and an Honorary Fellow of Melbourne University. He is a member of Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA). He has published papers in peer reviewed journals.

Dr Fiona Lynch

Senior Clinical Psychologist, Barwon Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Dr Lynch has worked with people with cancer for the past 6 years. She has both clinical and research experience in supporting people to manage their fear of cancer recurrence. Dr Lynch was the project manager of the Fear-Less project at Peter Mac, developing a stepped-care intervention to manage fear of cancer recurrence for people with advanced melanoma. She is trained in, and regularly delivers Conquer Fear, a 1:1 fear of cancer recurrence therapy, as well as a group fear of recurrence therapy at Barwon Health.

Hayley Russell

Senior Research Manager, Ovarian Cancer Australia

Hayley Russell is a passionate clinician and researcher, as well as a clinical grief and loss counselling role in community palliative care. She completed a Master of Social Science (Human Services; Counselling) with Swinburne University and holds clinical membership with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia. She has presented research at several Australian conferences, chaired a symposium, and presented data at the International Psycho-Oncology Symposium Conference on multiple occasions. Hayley has co-authored papers published in journals including Psycho-Oncology, Frontiers in Psychology, Supportive Care in Cancer and the European Journal of Cancer Care. In 2022, she was one of 84 Australians awarded a Churchill Fellowship and in 2023, completed this fellowship visiting support organisations and hospitals in Canada, the U.S, Belgium and Switzerland. In December 2023, she was the recipient of an Impact Award (Transformational Research) from the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

Marina McMahon

No profile - woman
Regional Consumer Representative

Marina is a Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor from the surf coast, diagnosed at 33. A single mother to a 6-year-old boy, she faced the stark reality of cancer after feeling unwell and undergoing tests. Enduring six months of chemotherapy, she eventually entered remission but found readjusting to daily life daunting, haunted by the fear of a relapse. Driven by her experience, she's committed to aiding others in post-cancer life.

Vanessa Carty

No profile - woman
Psychology Educator/Senior Clinical Psychologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Vanessa has over 20 years' experience in treating people with mental illness and helping individuals through their cancer journey. She is currently working as a Psychology Educator at Peter Mac where she works with other staff to develop education and evidence-based programs to deliver effective and empathic psycho-oncology services.

Course Details

Course type
60 mins
Curriculum Area
Treatment (incl. Supportive Care)
Clinical Care
Allied Health professional
Consumer / patient / carer

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