Menzies scholarship gives $55k boost to UQ cancer study
Head and neck cancer patients stand to benefit from a $55,000
scholarship awarded to a University
of Queensland School of Human Movement and
Nutrition Sciences researcher.
Ms Teresa Brown will use the
Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Research Scholarship in the Allied
Health Sciences to explore ways of reducing recovery times and
shortening cancer patients' hospital stays.
"The scholarship enables me to complete the final stage of my
PhD, which focuses on nutrition supplementation before patients
start treatment," Ms Brown said.
"By using a feeding tube upon admission, patients receive a
nutrition boost early, which we hope to prove will reduce the
impact of malnutrition and leave them with improved quality of
"Better nutrition maintains muscle, strength and energy levels,
and can reduce the length of stay in hospital.
"It also reduces the chance of readmission due to malnutrition
Although a seemingly common-sense solution, Ms Brown's study is
the first of its kind in Australia.
Typically, head and neck cancer patients go through three to
seven sessions of chemotherapy during a course of seven weeks of
radiotherapy and end up losing around nine per cent of their
bodyweight over the course of treatment and recovery.
"My team at UQ's
Centre for Dietetics Research is hoping to get that weight loss
down to less than five per cent - the mark at which weight loss is
no longer deemed clinically detrimental," Ms Brown said.
"Traditional nutrition plans have been reactive and relied on a
combination of advice from dietitians and a reliance on patients to
follow their advised meal plans.
"This can become difficult due to low energy levels, poor
appetite and side effects from the treatment, such as pain related
to swallowing or severe changes to taste."
Foundation has a long history of supporting allied health
research, stretching back to 1988.
CEO Sarah Hardy said that by supporting researchers like Ms
Brown, the foundation hoped to enable and inspire the next
generation of leaders and contribute to improved community
The scholarship covers a two-year period.
Media: Ms Teresa Brown email@example.com
, +617 3646 7995; Menzies Foundation -
Kate Nolan, firstname.lastname@example.org
, +61 0408 442 887.