Emma Byrne

New PhD Scholar: Emma Byrne

The Irish Cancer Society is pleased to announce that it has recently granted scholarship funding to Emma Byrne to complete a PhD at Dublin City University (DCU) to examine body image in cancer related lymphoedema.

Emma recently completed a BSc in Psychology from DCU, having returned to education as a mature student following her own cancer diagnosis. During her time at DCU, Emma was drawn to how psychology can help us to understand how people respond to illness, what influences this and how their lives might be improved.

Emma explains “I particularly enjoyed the Health psychology and Psychology, illness and disability modules. While on work placement in third year, I successfully developed a stress reduction intervention that has received positive participant feedback and continues to be used in the organisation.”

Emma explains why her research is important: “There is an increasing number of people living with and beyond cancer. Furthermore, following cancer treatment, it is estimated that 25% of people who have experienced cancer will also experience one or more physical or psychological repercussions every day. Cancer related (secondary) lymphoedema is one of the most common consequences. Despite its prevalence, it is often overlooked, under or late diagnosed and undertreated.”

“Cancer related lymphoedema can also a considerable impact on the person’s quality of life – affecting not only the person’s body but their psychological and social well-being including body image. This project will be the first of its kind to investigate and facilitate meaningful understanding of body image in cancer related lymphoedema over time.”

On receiving funding, Emma states “I am honoured to be given the opportunity to pursue a PhD in cancer research with the Irish Cancer Society. It is giving me the perfect opportunity to draw on my experiences to date and to develop an expertise and skillset that will enable a future career that will improve the lives of people living with and beyond cancer.”