Breast cancer researcher to present latest in disease psychology

July 24th, 2012

National Breast Cancer Foundation’s National Research Roadshow visits Sydney 24 July

Over 70 per cent of young women, living with a past diag[object Object]nosis of breast cancer, live in fear of it returning, creating significant stress and anxiety. Dr Belinda Thewes, National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney, will discuss results of her world-first study into ‘fear of cancer recurrence’ (FCR) at the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s National Research Roadshow to be held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday, 24 July at 2.30pm.

Dr Thewes’ study investigated the degree to which young breast cancer patients experience FCR and examined various clinical, psychological and demographic factors to determine whether they also played a role. She found that being at a younger age when first diagnosed was related to FCR.

Her results have helped develop an intervention program, currently being trialled in collaboration with the Psycho-Oncology Cooperative Research Group of Australia. This program has the potential to benefit the lives of a wide range of cancer survivors, including women with breast cancer.

“My study found that 70% of the women reported levels of FCR high enough to cause anxiety, which interfered with their lives, while 25% reported FCR had an impact on their mood,” said Dr Thewes.

“Women responded to this cancer-related anxiety by frequently examining themselves and reaching out for reassurance from their peers and GPs, although they tended to avoid having diagnostic tests, such as mammograms or ultrasounds. We hope the intervention will help cancer patients deal with their fears, reduce unnecessary medical examinations with associated health costs and ultimately, improve their quality of life.”

Dr Thewes will be joined at the National Research Roadshow in Sydney by Dr Alison Butt, Director of Research Investment at NBCF.

“NBCF is the leading breast cancer research funding body in Australia. We are committed to funding the very best breast cancer research into all areas of the disease. Often the psychological side effects of a breast cancer diagnosis are overlooked, even though they can be extremely debilitating for many patients. Dr Thewes’ important research has great potential to positively benefit women living with a diagnosis of breast cancer and their families,” Dr Butt said.

NBCF encourages current and future supporters, breast cancer survivors and friends to attend this research event and learn more about the impactful research funded by NBCF.


  • Tuesday, 24 July 2012, 2.30-4.00pm


  • School of IT Lecture Theatre, University of Sydney, Corner of Cleveland Street and City Road


  • Dr Belinda Thewes, University of Sydney and Dr Alison Butt, Director of Research Investment, NBCF