Australian behavioural research in cancer

New Results

Viertel Centre for Research in Cancer Control (VCRCC), Qld

Attitudes and intentions in relation to skin screening

This study evaluated intention to undergo a skin examination and factors associated with intentions as part of a randomised community-based trial of population screening for melanoma involving 18 Queensland communities. Data originated from a baseline cross-sectional telephone survey of 3,110 study participants aged ≥ 30 years. Forty-five per cent of participants intended to have a clinical skin examination in the next 12 months and 72 per cent intended to examine their own skin. Women were more likely to say they intended to have or undertake skin examination. In the multivariate model, intention to undergo skin examination was strongly related to a history of previous clinical skin examination.  Other factors associated with intention to screen included a history of skin cancer and a high susceptibility towards skin cancer.  Intention to participate in skin screening, both clinical and self-examination was high amongst populations in rural and regional Queensland.

Childhood Cancer Health Survey

This small pilot study was conducted to determine childhood cancer survivors’ current health behaviours and their level of interest in health promotion programs.  The survey involved 28 Queenslanders who had completed treatment for lymphoma, leukaemia or brain/central nervous system tumours ages 14-30. Ten parents of those under age 18 were also interviewed to ascertain their interest in health programs for their children.  Participants were recruited from past and present member mailing lists of two support groups for children and teens living with cancer.

Only 32 per cent of survivors ate the recommended two or more serves of fruit per day and none ate the recommended five serves of vegetables per day.  Forty-six per cent were overweight or obese.  Thirty-six per cent met the Active Australia guideline for physical activity (150 minutes of activity per week over 5 or more days). Physical activity and Body Mass Index results were significantly related to tumour type, with brain tumour patients faring the worst and lymphoma patients faring the best.

Childhood cancer respondents were extremely or very interested in the following interventions: healthy eating (61 per cent), physical activity (57 per cent), improving one’s social life (46 per cent), feeling better about oneself (43 per cent), improving school/work performance (43 per cent) and weight control (36 per cent).  The most favoured intervention delivery modality was mailed information with 54 per cent of respondents very or extremely interested in receiving information in this way.  This information will be used to inform future research and programming for childhood cancer survivors.

Associations of physical activity with quality of life:  findings from the Colorectal Cancer and Quality of Life pilot study

The pilot study for the Colorectal Cancer and Quality of Life study was conducted in March – May 2003.  One of the aims of this study was to describe physical activity in individuals recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer (approximately six months following diagnosis), and to examine associations between demographic and medical variables, physical activity and quality of life.  Eighty-nine participants completed telephone interviews.  Forty-three per cent of men and 50 per cent of women met current public health guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.  Physical activity was positively associated with two quality of life domains (physical well-being and emotional well-being).  The relationship between physical activity and quality of life varied by gender, marital status and treatment type.  These results, although cross-sectional, support the importance of physical activity in improving quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors, as has been shown in randomised clinical trials of exercise interventions amongst other cancer groups.  The Colorectal Cancer and Quality of Life study will more closely examine the relationship between physical activity and quality of life, with a large, population-based sample and prospective methodology.

Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology (CHeRP), NSW

The management of nicotine dependent inpatients

Between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of hospital patients in NSW are smokers. The smoke-free hospital environment represents both a challenge for smokers in terms of dealing with nicotine withdrawal and an opportunity for obtaining cessation support. In July 2002 NSW Health distributed the Guide for the Management of Nicotine Dependent Inpatients to all NSW public hospitals. The Guide recommends a series of steps to provide support and assistance to inpatients with nicotine dependence. These recommendations include:

  • Identifying tobacco users
  • Managing inpatient nicotine dependence
  • Prescribing nicotine therapy
  • Monitoring withdrawal symptoms
  • Extending care to discharge

A self-complete survey mailed to senior managers at 206 NSW public hospitals assessed the degree to which the recommendations in the Guide were being met at their hospital. The participants provided data on the proportion of appropriate inpatients receiving care according to the recommendations in the Guide.  Of the 206 hospital managers, 83 per cent responded.

It was found that while many inpatient smokers were being identified routinely, the majority of hospitals provided minimal smoking care for inpatient smokers. Levels of NRT prescription and discharge care were particularly low.  Some predictors of greater levels of care provision were identified. A quasi-experimental study of organisational change practices to increase the provision of smoking care is being conducted.

Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC), Vic

Financial stress, smoking cessation and relapse: results from a prospective study of an Australian national sample

This study, led by Mohammad Siahpush, used prospective data from a representative Australian sample to examine the association of financial stress with subsequent smoking cessation among smokers and relapse among ex-smokers. Data were drawn from the first two waves of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Included were eight items measuring financial stress, such as “[In the past six months] did any of the following happen to you because of a shortage of money? …Could not pay electricity, gas or telephone bills on time, … Pawned or sold something, … Went without meals, … Was unable to heat home”. We used multivariate logistic regression and adjusted for socio-demographic variables. Of the 2076 smokers in Wave 1 of the survey, 10.7 per cent had quit by Wave 2. A one-unit increase in financial stress was associated with a decrease of 13 per cent in the odds of cessation. Of the 2717 ex-smokers in Wave 1, 10.1 per cent had started smoking by Wave 2. A one-unit increase in financial stress resulted in an increase of 19 per cent in the odds of relapse. This study suggests that smokers with financial stress are less likely to quit and that ex-smokers with more financial stress are more likely to relapse. An increase in tobacco excise is recognised as one of the most effective policies for reducing smoking prevalence. Furthermore, there is evidence that these policies are more effective for lower socio-economic groups. However, given that smokers with financial stress are less prone to quit, such policies may in fact worsen the material wellbeing of disadvantaged smokers who already face financial difficulties and fail to quit smoking. Special programmes may have to be implemented to counter the potentially adverse effects of tobacco price increases for these smokers.

A study of compliance of inner Melbourne solarium centres with a new Australian Standard:assessment of age and skin type on usual practice.

This study, led by Suzanne Dobbinson, assessed observed compliance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard on Solaria for Cosmetic Purposes which requires solarium operators to provide risk information about skin cancer, provide goggles for eye protection and ensure adequate cleaning of facilities.  The voluntary code also requires staff to prevent access to solariums by high-risk groups, including those with very fair skin that burns but does not tan (skin type 1) and those aged under 15 years.  People aged 16 or 17 years are permitted to use solariums, provided they have parental consent. 

We tested a randomly selected sample of 30 solarium centres in inner and bayside suburbs of Melbourne.  Each solarium centre had an approach from three different research assistants with different skin type and age characteristics who posed as potential customers.  Potential customers with olive skin who were eligible to use the tanning units tested compliance with provision of risk information, protective goggles and cleaning requirements.  Fair-skinned skin type 1 adults tested the extent to which staff assessed customers’ skin-type and barred access to skin type 1 customers.  Finally, we used 16-year-olds to assess under-age access to the tanning units without parental consent. 

When tested by eligible adults, 70 per cent of centres gave some form of information about possible skin cancer risk, 87 per cent provided protective goggles and 80 per cent provided a sign or gave advice to use the goggles.  Cleaning of tanning units was undertaken by staff in 33 per cent of centres, and in 43 per cent of cases customers were instructed to clean the tanning unit after use.  A further 13 per cent of Centres provided cleaning products without an instruction.  Overall, 90 per cent of very fair skinned customers could gain access to the tested solariums.  In addition, 52 per cent of 16-year-olds could gain access to the solariums without having to produce parental consent, even though they prompted solarium operators with their age. These findings suggest poor compliance with aspects of the voluntary code pertaining to high-risk groups and indicate a need for revision of the code, banning of unsupervised tanning visits and increased enforcement efforts.

Australian Secondary Students Alcohol and Drug Survey (ASSAD)

In 2002, the seventh in a series of secondary school-based surveys monitoring the use of tobacco, alcohol and other substances among adolescents was conducted throughout Australia.  The survey series commenced in 1984 and has been conducted every three years. The current study is conducted as a collaboration between State and Territory cancer organisations, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, State and Territory Health Departments, and, in Queensland, the Education Department. In 2002, data were collected from 23,417 male and female students aged 12–17 years from 363 schools. 

In 2002, the proportion of students who were current smokers (smoked in the seven days preceding the survey) increased from 6 per cent among 12-year-olds to 25 per cent among 17-year-olds. The proportion of students smoking in the previous week almost doubled between the ages of 13 (7 per cent) and 14 (13 per cent).   Based on the survey data, we estimate that 205,259 students were currently involved with tobacco smoking in that they had smoked at least one cigarette in the week prior to the study.

One of the strengths of this study is that the questions assessing smoking behaviours and the procedures for sampling students have been the same since the survey series began. This means we are able to examine trends in smoking prevalence over time. Using standard questions and sampling measures, we found that the prevalence of current smoking for 12-15 year olds and 16-17 year olds in 2002 was the lowest since the survey series began in 1984 (Figure 1).

Centre for Cancer Control Research (CCCR) and the Tobacco Control Research Evaluation Program (TCRE), SA

Psychosocial research and terminal care

Much of the Centre for Cancer Control Research’s (CCCR) earlier work focused on population-based descriptive cancer epidemiology, clinical epidemiology and behavioural risk factor surveillance. More recently, increased attention has been directed at psychosocial research, especially in relation to terminal care.

This has included a collaborative study with researchers from the Department of Social Work and Medical Oncology Unit of the Canberra Hospital, in which survival duration was assessed among patients with terminal cancer according to levels of emotional support. The results indicated that the number of confidants with whom feelings were being shared at study entry was predictive of survival duration. The relationship was not linear, however, and seemed to be more complex than previously reported among people with cardiovascular disease. Longer survivors were more likely to be sharing their feelings with friends than shorter survivors. By comparison, shorter survivors were more likely to be sharing their feelings with family members than longer survivors. The report is awaiting release in the Journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

The Centre also has provided data-analysis support to the Palliative Care Council of South Australia in investigating population-based survey data on preferred place of death. Factors predictive of a preference for death at home as opposed to an institutional setting have been investigated. Also, the preference for death in a hospice or nursing home, as opposed to a hospital setting, has been analysed. This work is still in progress.

Evaluation of the Smoke-free Pregnancy Project (ongoing)

As reported previously, Quit SA is working in collaboration with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the Lyell McEwin Health Service on a project to reduce smoking prevalence amongst pregnant women attending these hospitals. TCRE is evaluating this project. Antenatal staffs at both hospitals were trained to record smoking status of pregnant women routinely and, where appropriate, to deliver a brief smoking cessation intervention, which may include referral to the Quitline.

Participating staff completed questionnaires before and after the training to assess: attitudes toward smoking and pregnancy; staff’s perceptions of their own role in preventing it; current practice in the hospitals; perceived barriers to system change; and also to evaluate the quality and usefulness of the training sessions. Results showed that, although before the training most staff felt that addressing smoking was a part of their role as a health professional most did not routinely ask about smoking and deliver any advice or intervention around cessation. Although many staff did perceive barriers to system change in the area, most felt strongly about smoking and pregnancy and viewed it as an important issue. The training was shown to be generally well-received by the staff and increased their skills and knowledge required to administer the intervention. Staff will be followed-up by telephone to continue to monitor changes in attitudes, knowledge and delivery of the intervention, as well as confidence in delivering the intervention. This project is continuing into 2005, and other evaluation findings will continue to become available throughout 2005/06.

Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control (CBRCC), WA

Investigating the effect of smoking portrayals in youth orientated magazines

Following on from the work of CBRCC to audit depictions of smoking in a wide variety of youth orientated media, Ms Narelle Weller was awarded a Healthway Starter grant to investigate the effects such portrayals have on the impressions of young people. A mock magazine 10 pages length was created with youth orientated content, particularly in the realm of music and fashion. Photographs within the magazine were taken from other existing youth magazines and included multiple images of models and celebrities smoking a cigarette. In a second version of the magazine these images were digitally altered to remove the offending cigarettes from each photograph but otherwise the images and all other content remained the same. A total of 360 intercept interviews were then conducted with equal numbers of smokers and non-smokers from each sex between the ages of 14 and 17 years. Equal numbers of participants viewed either one of the two versions of the magazine and were then asked to rate to what extent they thought the magazine was cool, sexy, tough, fashionable, glamorous, fun, attractive, rebellious, etc. Preliminary results suggest an interaction with smokers having favourable attitudes towards the smoking depiction magazine and non-smokers having unfavourable attitudes.

Cancer Prevention Research Centre (CPRC), Qld

Young women and smoking: an investigation of factors influencing young Queensland  women to initiate, maintain and stop smoking tobacco (YWAS)

A research project coordinated by the Young Women and Smoking consortium investigated factors influencing young Queensland women to initiate, maintain and stop smoking tobacco. The consortium (including the Cancer Prevention Research Centre and Centre for Social Research in Communication at the University of Queensland, Women’s Health Queensland Wide Inc, Queensland Cancer Fund and the National Heart Foundation of Australia (Queensland Division)), listened to the ideas and opinions of many young women – smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers.

The project, which was commissioned by Health Promotion Queensland as the first stage of a two-part process (part one for research and part two for addressing the findings of the research), provided recommendations for a Queensland-wide public information and cessation campaign.

The focus identified is on preventing progression to the regular, addicted, long-term smoking habits that are consolidated during young adult life transitions (particularly in the 18-24 years age group).
Action is particularly needed to change those environmental and social influences that lead first to ‘social smoking’ among young women and then to addicted smoking.  Particularly strong influences are: 

  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • social cues and incentives to smoke
  • point of sale visibility of cigarette packs
  • tobacco promotion activities

All of these influences act together to normalise cigarette smoking and to make it particularly attractive to children and young adults. 

Changes to eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke and the availability and promotion of cigarettes will make a difference. Coordinated mass-communication campaigns and setting-specific and social change initiatives (particularly in nightclubs, pubs and other social settings) can do much to change how young women think and act in relation to smoking cigarettes.

Research in the Pipeline


Brain Tumour Supportive Care Needs Study

This study aims to identify the supportive care needs of Queensland brain tumour patients and their carers.  This information will be used to inform the development of an instrument to measure the supportive care needs of patients with brain tumours and their carers, as well as to inform the provision of supportive care services.

Qualitative interviews with 8 patients and 6 carers have been undertaken and focus groups with patients and carers in Brisbane and Townsville are currently underway.  The next phase of the research will be a mail survey to all participating Brain Tumour Support Service patients and carers to ascertain their supportive care needs in order to establish the support services likely to be of most benefit to them.

An investigation into the utility of primary care skin cancer clinics in Queensland

In the July 2004 edition of Cancer Forum we outlined a research project to be conducted by the Queensland Cancer Fund and collaborators from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the University of Queensland. Briefly to recap, the aims of the project are to document the volume and casemix of skin lesions examined and excised in primary care skin cancer clinics and general practice and to examine the diagnostic performance within both settings. Other aims of the project are to describe and compare characteristics of patients who undergo a skin examination and skin excision, as well as to document the direct and indirect costs of diagnosis, treatment and management of skin excisions within primary care skin cancer clinics and in usual general practice. Twenty-eight skin clinics and 200 general practitioners from Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba will be involved in the study. The project has received NHMRC funding for 2005 and 2006.


Student nurses: personal health risks, attitudes towards patient interventions and training needs

Nurses have been identified as a key group in the provision of preventive health services because of the frequency and duration of their contact with patients in many clinical settings. Together with academic nursing collaborators at the Universities of Newcastle and Western Sydney, CHeRP has instigated a study of lifestyle risk factors amongst nursing students which also examines attitudes towards preventive interventions, confidence levels and perceived training needs.

The main focus of the study is on smoking-related issues, however nutritional and solar protection activities were also examined. By surveying students from all three years of the undergraduate nursing program, it is planned to assess whether significant changes occur during their training both
in the prevalence of risk factors and in their willingness/ confidence to initiate preventive interventions with patients. Key questions investigated the circumstances under which it was believed nurses should discuss smoking with their patients and the importance students attached to the need for further education to address factual information requirements or patient counseling techniques.

As a side-issue, the ethics approval process for this study has again illustrated the inconsistency of decisions made by different ethics committees. At Newcastle, approval was granted for students to be given the option of returning questionnaires either to a box in the lecture theatre or at another location on the University campus. At the University of Western Sydney (UWS) the option of having a box available in the lecture theatre was deemed too coercive. It is likely this decision was a factor in the lower return rates achieved at UWS.

CBRC (Vic)

Exploring the needs of facilitators and members of cancer support groups across Victoria

Support groups can be a valuable resource for people touched by cancer, improving knowledge and coping skills and enhancing quality of life. There is no standard cancer support group – they vary in size, patient type, purpose, aims and approach. The Cancer Information and Support Service (CISS) unit within The Cancer Council Victoria coordinates the Cancer Support Groups Program. The program consists of 115 general and cancer-specific groups across Victoria that are either peer lead or professionally-facilitated. The Cancer Council does not run these support groups, but rather, facilitates their formation and provides information and support to group facilitators. Commencing in 2005, CBRC will work closely with CISS to conduct three related studies that aim to explore the needs of facilitators and members of cancer support groups across Victoria. The first study will be an audit of existing support groups and will aim to quantify the number of support groups for cancer patients in Victoria and to characterise them in terms of: facilitation (peer or professional), longevity, membership size, regularity of meetings, purpose of meetings, demographics of membership, cancer history of membership, functioning of group, awareness and use of Cancer Council information and support. The second study will examine the process of starting up a support group and will determine any gaps in service offered by The Cancer Council.  The third study will examine the experiences of support group members who differ in their time since diagnosis to determine the expectations and needs relating to support groups among these two types of patients. 


Evaluation of new tobacco control legislation in South Australia.

On 6 December 2004 laws were introduced in South Australia prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces (with phase-in provisions for hospitality venues). TCRE is evaluating the impact of the legislative changes. The evaluation involves several components including surveys to measure community support for the smoking restrictions, attitudes toward the legislation among managers and owners of licensed premises, licensed venue compliance and, ultimately, any economic impact of the new laws.  

Evaluation of Tobacco the Truth is Out There!

Quit SA disseminated an updated version of the teachers’ resource, Tobacco the Truth is Out There! in November 2003 to teachers who had requested it. The resource contains information classroom exercises on tobacco and is particularly aimed at middle school. TCRE has conducted follow-up interviews with teachers and is currently analysing the data to determine use of the resource, familiarity with the resource, areas that were particularly useful and areas for improvement. A report will be available in early 2005.

Involvement in ‘Smokescreen II’ project, in collaboration with NSW

TCRE and Quit SA are participating in the ‘Smokescreen II’ project being co-ordinated by The Cancer Council NSW. This project examines the impact on young people of an anti-smoking commercial placed before movies that feature characters smoking. Surveys are currently being conducted in the field.


Investigating enhanced presentation methods of the UV Index

A qualitative investigation was conducted by Dr Owen Carter last summer of how to improve presentation methods of the UV index. A number of hypotheses were developed from this investigation, which is currently being tested quantitatively via 600 intercept interviews. The depth of peoples’ understanding of the UV index is being tested, as well as their appreciation of and the motivation effectiveness of four alternative methods of presenting the UV index. Interviews are expected to be completed by the end of January 2005 and results to be made available by the end of March.

Audit of tobacco point-of-sale and special events promotions

Geoffrey Jalleh is conducting two studies investigating marketing and promotion by the tobacco industry. One study is an audit of point of sale marketing of tobacco products in retail outlets to determine whether or not these activities breach tobacco control legislations. And the other study is an audit of marketing and promotional activities at events and venues patroned by young people to scan for below-the-line activities.

State Members of Parliament Tobacco Control Survey

To coincide with the upcoming State election in Western Australia, Geoffrey Jalleh is conducting a telephone survey of State Members of Parliament to canvas opinions on key tobacco control issues. It is anticipated that the data from these studies will assist in building a case for strengthening state and federal tobacco control legislations.

CPRC (Qld)

Physical activity, sun exposure and the sporting involvements of young Queensland adults: identifying new opportunities for social and environmental interventions (PASS)

Physical activity (which in the main takes place outdoors) may be associated with increased sun exposure. Sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer. The Cancer Council of Australia has now identified physical inactivity an important new risk factor for colon and breast cancer. Cancer organisations would not wish to promote a new preventive behaviour (physical activity), while at the same time increasing exposure to another established cancer risk (sun exposure).

Young adults (those aged 18 to 30 years) are an important target group for physical activity promotion initiatives. There is a well-documented decreasing prevalence of physical activity participation over the young adult years and clear patterns of difference in the physical activity habits of young men (who tend to engage in more vigorous forms of activity) and young women (for whom moderate-intensity activities are more salient). Physical activity habits during the young adult years are likely to be important influences on habitual physical activity during overall adult life and, consequently, have significant implications for long-term chronic disease risk, including risk of colon and breast cancer.

Sun exposure increases risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. While the precise roles of sun exposures at different life stages is not fully understood, excessive sun exposure during the young adult years and the persistence of habitual sun exposure throughout adulthood is likely to be related to increased skin cancer risk.

The focus of this study is:

  • On identifying relevant attributes of the settings in which sun exposure takes place, for physically active young adults
  • On the interrelationships between physical activity and sport participation and sun exposure in young adults 
  • On identifying relevant attributes and norms of the social networks (particularly sporting clubs and less-formal groups), through which sun protection behaviours may be influenced
  • On making recommendations on settings-based approaches that can  most appropriately address sun exposure habits in young adults



Appointment of Associate Professor Lin Fritschi

The Queensland Cancer Fund’s Viertel Centre for Research in Cancer Control is delighted to announce the appointment of A/Professor Lin Fritschi to the position of Head, Epidemiology Unit.  Lin brings to the VCRCC significant experience in the areas of cancer epidemiology and occupational epidemiology. Her specific research interest areas are skin cancer and occupational exposures. 


CHeRP have been successful in attracting funds for a number of new projects:

A/Professor Afaf Girgis, Dr Chris Paul and Claire Johnson from CHeRP, together with external collaborators Professor David Currow (Flinders University of South Australia), Professor Linda Kristjanson, Edith Cowan University) and Amanda Neil (University of Newcastle) have been successful in obtaining five years funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing to undertake a comprehensive program of work to develop specialist palliative care referral guidelines, screening and assessment tools.

In conjunction with Dr John Wiggers and colleagues from Hunter Population Health, Dr Chris Paul, Dr Raoul Walsh and A/Professor Afaf Girgis were recently awarded four years funding by the Australian Research Council to examine the effectiveness of pro-active telemarketing of a smoking cessation telephone counselling service.

Dr Chris Paul, Dr Raoul Walsh and Flora Tzelepis were awarded one year funding from the University of Newcastle to examine the prevalence, effectiveness and non-cessation use of nicotine replacement therapy in a random community sample of smokers. 

Dr Jiong Li was recently awarded a one year Early Career Researcher Grant from the University of Newcastle to explore the lifestyles and cancer surveillance practices of newly diagnosed cancer patients.

Several CHeRP staff participated in the recent COSA Annual Scientific Meeting 2004.  Congratulations to Allison Boyes who received an award for Best Oral Presentation for her presentation entitled “It’s not all doom and gloom: well-being of cancer survivors five years after diagnosis”.  Other CHeRP presentations addressed the coping styles of long-term cancer survivors (Alison Zucca), psychological needs of patients with advanced colorectal cancer (Sibilah Breen) and referral practices to palliative care in Australia (Claire Johnson).  A/Professor Afaf Girgis was invited to Chair the Psychosocial Oncology Symposium, which included stimulating presentations from Ms Raelene Boyle, Professor James Zabora and Dr Jane Turner.  

CBRC (Vic)

CBRC has welcomed Natalie Sambell as Research Assistant Trainee, who will be working with Suzanne Dobbinson on skin cancer control projects.  Also add our statistician Professor Melanie Wakefield and A/Professor Yoshi Kashima (Department of Psychology, Melbourne University) have been awarded an ARC Linkage grant for a PhD student for 3 years to study effects of anti-smoking and other cancer control advertising on message processing.

In November 2004, CBRC was subject to external scientific peer review and we obtained a very positive evaluation of our work program.  The review concluded that “CBRC has an impressive record of refereed publications, program evaluation reports, books and book chapters, as well as identified impacts on practice and policy” and that “the CBRC is a leading, internationally recognised, research centre in its field”.

Visit our website for information about current CBRC research projects, details of our latest publications and access to the CBRC Research Paper Series.


State Cancer Control Plan

South Australia is presently involved in the development of a State Cancer Control Plan. This is being undertaken under the aegis of the Clinical Senate, a body established to advise the Minister of Health and Department of Health on health policy issues. This plan is being prepared with active involvement and administrative support from The Cancer Council South Australia. Members of CCCR and TCRE are participating in specialist subcommittees on research, population health, clinical care and cancer services infrastructure. Attention is being given in this context to psychosocial and other support needs of people with cancer.


CBRCC was awarded two ARC and two Healthway grants in the 2004 round of competitive funding for research projects to investigate: the effect of junk food advertising on children’s food choices and their appreciation of the persuasive intent of such advertising; methods to retrospectively alter people’s memories of experiences with alcohol using health promotion advertising; and investigating the effect of smoking and alcohol consumption portrayed in youth orientated magazines.

Professor Rob Donovan will be resigning as Director of CBRCC at the end of February 2005, but will continue work at the Centre on a part-time basis. Ms Narelle Weller has also departed from CBRCC to work at the Diabetes Association of Western Australia.

CPRC (Qld)

The Centre had its five-year funding round reviewed by Queensland Health in May 2004.  The review had a positive outcome contract arrangements are in the process of being agreed for a further five years starting July 2005.


Dr Karin Proper, a post-doctoral research fellow from Amsterdam, joined the Centre in January 2005 for a three-month visit.  Her research program will address environmental influences on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and weight gain.

A/Professor Billie Giles-Corti, from the University of Western Australia, will spend a period of time in April 2005 as a visiting fellow with CPRC.  She will work with us on collaborative analyses of the PLACE (Physical Activity in Localities and Community Environments) study.


Centre staff will be presenting new research findings at the following conferences in the first quarter of 2005:

  • Australasian Society for Behavioural Health and Medicine (ASBHM), Melbourne.  February 10-12 2005.  
  • Active Living Research Annual Conference, Coronado, California, USA.  February 25-26, 2005

Staff comings and goings

Dr Eva Leslie left CPRC in January 2005.  She has returned to her home state of Victoria and will continue to work closely with CPRC colleagues on her physical activity research.

Liane McDermott has returned from maternity leave and is continuing her PhD studies on young women and smoking, part-time.

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