02 November 2023
Being diagnosed with cancer is a universally complex and terrifying experience.
But with the right approach and armed with the correct tools, healthcare professionals can drastically improve that experience for patients in their care.
University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) Professor of Social and Behavioural Science and Chair of Cancer Survivorship Jeff Dunn has dedicated his life’s work to improving cancer care.
In his latest professional milestone, Professor Dunn – along with Professor Suzanne Chambers – has written a book to assist healthcare professionals in maintaining a patient-centred approach to cancer care.
“The Health Professionals Guide to Delivering Psychological Care for Adults with Cancer is a practical, easy to access, ‘how-to manual’ for health professionals,” Professor Dunn said.
“The evidence tells us that patient-centred wellbeing care is lacking. And while we can recognise the need to improve, the difficult part is working out how to actually deliver those changes.”
While it’s an impressive professional milestone, it’s also an important personal accomplishment for Professor Dunn, who was himself diagnosed with cancer in 2022.
Professor Dunn said his own diagnosis influenced the trajectory of this book and reinforced just how important it was.
“I was suddenly in the patient’s seat, and you always get a different perspective when you change seats,” he said.
“Health professionals, by definition, want to make that patient experience as caring and as therapeutic as possible, so this book is helping them to do that. It’s providing them with the tools, the wherewithal and the knowledge to intervene and assist.”
Professor Dunn was recently ranked among the world’s top two per cent of scientists by Stanford University, recognising his impact and influence in the field of cancer control across the three decades of his career.
Professor Dunn is also currently President of the Union for International Cancer Control (Geneva) and Chief of Mission and Head of Research at the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia National Chairman, Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Callister, commended the book.
“The book captures a lifetime of research and helps makes it real for the thousands of clinicians and health workers who wish to transform their practice,” Associate Professor Callister said.
“It distils the insights and learnings gained over a distinguished 30-year career to help health professionals make a profound difference for those in our lives who have been impacted.
“Together with Professor Suzanne Chambers AO, Jeff has pioneered Survivorship Essentials which create a pathway to a more complete quality of cancer care, providing evidence-based strategies to better manage the life-long effects of cancer on the physical and mental health of those impacted, with compassion and empathy.”
Professor Dunn’s cancer is now in remission and, following a stem cell transplant in December 2023, he says his future is “very bright”.
The Health Professionals Guide to Delivering Psychological Care for Adults with Cancer is available to purchase now.
Find out more about the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Health Research.
Image: University of Southern Queensland Professor of Social and Behavioural Science and Chair of Cancer Survivorship Jeff Dunn.
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