A leading dementia researcher has been awarded a £155,000 grant to examine ways to improve cancer treatment and care for people who are living with both cancer and dementia.
A team of researchers from Leeds Beckett University’s Centre for Dementia Research, led by Professor Claire Surr, Professor of Dementia Studies at Leeds Beckett University, working with colleagues from the University of Leeds, will be the first researchers to profile the size and demographics of the population of people with cancer and dementia from a large dataset of GP records.
They will also undertake interviews and observations in local hospital cancer services to understand how people with cancer and dementia and their family members experience cancer treatment and care.
The study findings will be used to make recommendations about areas where improvements could be made. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit Programme.
The team from Leeds Beckett includes Cancer Care Expert Dr Laura Ashley and Dementia Specialists Dr Rachael Kelley and Dr Alys Griffiths. The University of Leeds team includes Medical Statisticians Professor Amanda Farrin, Michelle Collinson and Ellen Mason. They will be collaborating with experts from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham City University.
Speaking about the work, Professor Surr said, ‘Cancer and dementia are conditions that affect many older people, and the little research we have suggests many may have both conditions, however, we don’t currently have any accurate figures on the size of the population or their experiences.
‘What research we do have suggests people who have dementia, as well as cancer, have much worse outcomes in terms of diagnosis, treatment and survival than people who have cancer but not dementia. Therefore, our study is urgently needed to inform future research in this area and to identify immediate ways services might be improved.’