Clinical FeaturesOncology

Reflections on the 2023 European Nursing of Oncology Society Conference and upcoming Irish Cancer Society research funding opportunities

In October 2023, the 16th European Nursing of Oncology Society’s Conference (EONS16), ‘Cancer nursing: Building on innovation and building back better in healthcare’ took place in Madrid. The conference, which took place alongside the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Annual Congress, hosted a variety of talks spanning the cancer nursing field. Sessions focused on issues such as cancer screening, palliative/end of life care, health promotion, and supportive, patient-centred care.

Attending EONS16 on behalf of the Irish Cancer Society’s Research Team, it was incredible to witness first-hand the breath of innovative research projects. At the Irish Cancer Society, we are committed to supporting capacity building in the Irish nursing workforce, through funding innovative, high quality cancer research. Over the last ten years, thanks to the generous support of our donors, we have invested over ¤30 million in cancer research.

A number of these Irish Cancer Society-funded researchers presented their work at EON16, including, for example, Yvonne Hanhauser, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Breast Care, St James’s Hospital. She presented at a Satellite Symposium on “The Role of Cancer Nurses in the Management of gBRCAm HER2- Breast Cancer”. Ms Hanhauser spoke to her experience developing a decision aid for women identified as having a higher lifetime risk of developing breast cancer due to having a BRCA1/2 alteration. This is a part of her Cancer Nursing Research Award which she received in 2019 (CNRA19HAN) and is co-funded by the Irish Cancer Society and the National Cancer Control Programme. This symposium highlighted the surgical management of genetic risks, nursing considerations for PARP inhibitors for managing gBRCAm HER2 breast cancer (Santiago González Santiago, MD), and provided insights into the patient experience (Eva Schumacher-Wulf).

Another Irish Cancer Society researcher presenting at EONS16 was Ms Sophie Mulcahy Symmons, who was invited to speak about her research on promoting cancer screening among under-represented populations. Ms Mulcahy Symmons, a social, nursing and allied health doctoral scholar, is currently undertaking her research titled ‘Promoting HPV Cervical Screening: co-designing an educational intervention to overcome barriers and promote screening uptake in underrepresented groups’ (CRS21SYM), supervised by Dr Aoife de Brun and Dr Amanda Drury in University College Dublin. This session, focusing on health promotion, prevention and screening, showcased research being carried across Spain, Ireland, Croatia, and Korea.

More broadly, the conference covered a range of fascinating research projects, including the opening keynote presentation, delivered by Prof Daniel Kelly (Cardiff University) which detailed nurse-led interventions for symptom management, and highlighted the vital role that nurses play in this domain. The second keynote, presented by Dr Gülcan Bağçivan (Koç University), spoke to the priorities for future research in cancer nursing. Technological advances in improving care for people affected by cancer, and caregivers for people with cancer, were highlighted as the core area of interest, and discussion also focused on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI).

EON16 was a fantastic showcase of the high-quality research being carried out by oncology nurses and allied health professionals internationally. The Irish oncology research community was wellrepresented, with many Irish Cancer Society researchers disseminating their work. We will continue to support innovative and patient-centred research, and to recognise those researchers, support staff, and PPI contributors who have gone above and beyond to further the Irish cancer research landscape.

In 2023, the Irish Cancer Society funded over 100 researchers and awarded 30 new projects. In recognition of this ongoing incredible work, our forthcoming Annual Research Awards, which takes place on 24 February at Regent’s House, Trinity College Dublin, will acknowledge and pay tribute to the great work in our research community. The Awards are free to attend and anybody with an interest in cancer research is more than welcome to attend to hear shortlisted PhD and Senior Researchers of the Year present their work. Award winners will be announced on the night.

Looking ahead, the Irish Cancer Society is delighted to have a number of upcoming opportunities to apply for funding in 2024, including:

  • Our summer studentships, which are currently accepting applications;
  • Our Scholarships (February);
  • Our Networking awards and Project Seed Funding (March);
  • Our Allied Health Professional Research Awards (April);
  • Our Patient Advocate in Research Champion Awards and our PPI in Research Awards (May).

As always, please do stay up to date with our funding calls through our research newsletter, or alternatively, get in contact with any queries at:

Written by Dr Nikolett Warner, Cancer Survivorship Research Officer, Irish Cancer Society

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