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Why are cancer patients with pre-existing disabilities reporting poorer care?

26 October 2017


Researchers at Cardiff University are exploring the reasons why cancer patients with physical impairments experience greater problems in accessing healthcare compared to the general population.

Funded by Tenovus Cancer Care, the study will look at the experiences of disabled people across Wales who have been diagnosed with and treated for a potentially curable cancer.

Dr Dikaios Sakellariou, from the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University, said: "There is evidence that cancer patients with long-standing physical impairments report poorer care but the reasons for this are not clear..."

"By understanding the challenges facing cancer patients with pre-existing impairments we can look at ways to tailor cancer care services to meet their specific needs."

Dr Dikaios Sakellariou Reader: Disability Studies and Occupational Therapy

The information gathered by the researches will be used to inform planning of services and to create training material to help healthcare professionals be more aware and sensitive to the combined effect of disability and cancer. Also, recruiting participants from across Wales, in all cancer centres, will raise the visibility of this population of cancer patients.

While there have been a few studies that report on the experiences with cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment of disabled people, these studies focused on specific cancer types or specific physical impairments. Additionally, none of these studies were carried out in the UK, and none had an aim of developing training material or actively collaborating with patients to inform service delivery. In contrast, the new study will develop an understanding of people’s experience of cancer care, exploring their priorities and the challenges they face, with relevance to all physical impairments and cancer types.

The research team is recruiting via the community across the whole of Wales, with centres in Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor. For more information, please contact the team at

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