Irish Cancer Society Liam Mc Trial
Cancer treatment can be difficult for men, as are the common physical and emotional complications arising from this including everything from weight gain and muscle loss, to sleep disturbance, continence issues and erectile dysfunction.
Those affected by these potentially debilitating issues often do not know where to turn for help as the relevant supports may not be part of their standard hospital care, leading to huge unaddressed burdens for men in this group.
For the first time an Irish-based trial awarded to University College Cork (UCC) is attempting to link men to supports in a hospital setting that can help them to live full and fulfilling lives during and after cancer treatment.
The Irish Cancer Society Liam Mc Trial (short for Linking In with Advice and supports for Men with Metastatic Cancer) will see selected participants engage in a 12-week programme that aims to meet their health and wellbeing needs on a holistic basis beyond standard treatment.
The Cork University Hospital-based research trial will see men receive specialist nurse and dietician support weekly, as well as twice-weekly physiotherapy sessions to empower them to maintain physical activity so important for quality of life. This will be complemented by access to social work and psychological supports to ensure their practical and emotional as well as physical needs are met.
Based out of the state-of-the-art cardio rehab gym at Cork University Hospital (CUH), it will be supported by the UCC Cancer Trials Group and overseen by a team of researchers from UCC and CUH under the direction of Consultant Medical Oncologist Dr Richard Bambury, and Lecturer Practitioner in Nursing Dr Brendan Noonan.
The two-year pilot initiative is the result of a €300k funding commitment awarded to UCC from the Irish Cancer Society as part of its continued efforts to address crucial survivorship issues for cancer patients, and encourage associated service improvements, as well as supporting Irish cancer research.
The initial phase of the Liam Mc Trial commencing in September will focus on men with genitourinary cancer malignancies – cancers of the urinary and reproductive system such as prostate, bladder and testicular cancer – with selected eligible patients referred by their hospital teams.
Participating men will receive an assessment at the beginning of the 12-week programme and at the halfway point once they have begun receiving supports, and again at the end of the 12 weeks and six months afterwards to evaluate its effectiveness.
Participants will rate their quality of life through a survey at the end which will be assessed across criteria including maintenance of weight, muscle mass and strength, as well as fatigue levels, physical function and cardiovascular fitness.
Should the approach prove successful in improving quality of life among trial participants, it is hoped to roll the model out to many more categories of male cancer patients in hospitals nationwide as a new standard of care.
The multidisciplinary team behind the trial will also have the benefit of experience-sharing with their Cork-based colleagues involved in the Irish Cancer Society Women’s Health Initiative, amid a flourishing research culture in the south of the country.
Dr Richard Bambury
Dr Richard Bambury is a Medical Oncologist at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and former Clinical Director for Cancer Services at CUH.
He graduated from University College Cork and underwent residency training in Internal Medicine with the Royal College of Physicians Ireland. He subsequently completed medical oncology training with a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and thereafter worked as an Attending Physician on the GU faculty there. He joined Cork University Hospital in 2015.
Dr Bambury is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2011 Irish Society of Medical Oncology Scholarship, the UCC Ainsworth Scholarship in 2012, the John Quale Travel fellowship in 2013 and was a lead co-investigator on a Prostate Cancer Foundation-Movember Challenge Award in 2015.
Dr Bambury has been involved in a wide range of clinical and translational research projects with an extensive list of international presentations and peer-reviewed publications. He is heavily involved in patient care and academic research including serving as institutional Principal Investigator on a large number of GU cancer protocols. He served as Clinical Director for Cancer Services at CUH from 2018 to 2021 with a focus on strengthening and developing the clinical care delivered to patients at the institution.
Dr Brendan Noonan
Dr Brendan Noonan is a Lecturer practitioner at the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork.
He is known nationally and internationally as a researcher in the area of head and neck cancer which contributes to evidence informing practitioners and academics in their pursuit of improving patient care. His main research interests pertain to the experience of cancer, with a specific focus on the entire cancer trajectory, holistic needs assessment and the supports required throughout.
A key responsibility of the Lecturer Practitioner role is to lead collaborative research projects with Health Service Providers. Most recently, Dr Noonan led a team of clinicians and researchers in exploring the feasibility of using a Head & Neck Cancer Patient Concerns Inventory (H&Nc PCI) in a clinical setting in Ireland. The team concluded that the H&Nc PCI targets symptoms, facilitate referrals & improves patient care. It makes consultations more efficient and holistic and increases patient satisfaction with consultations. As a result, the H&Nc PCI has been implemented as a standard of care in the South-Infirmary Victoria University Hospital Cork.
Dr Noonan is an active member of local and national health care professional education groups and past chair and executive member of the Cork Branch of the Irish Association for Nurses in Oncology, whose primary purpose is to promote continuing oncology nurse education.
Dr Jack Gleeson
Dr Jack Gleeson is a Consultant Medical Oncologist treating Genitourinary Cancers among other malignancies.
In 2018 he was awarded the Irish Society of Medical Oncology (ISMO) Advanced Oncology Fellowship award to undertake a fellowship in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York, which he completed in January 2021. Recently he was awarded the prestigious ASCO/Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award (YIA) for 2021/2022. He returned to Ireland to work as a Consultant at Cork University Hospital in 2021, was involved with the design and planning for this study, and is an active member of the Steering and Research Groups through his role with Cancer Research @ UCC.
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