Successful international visit hosted by Prof Kate Brain and team

In November 2019 Professor Kate Brain (PRIME work package 4 lead, Cancer Screening, Prevention and Early Diagnosis), Dr Grace McCutchan (Research Associate in our WCRC sister centre) and Dr Harriet Quinn-Scoggins (Research Associate, PRIME work package 4) welcomed international colleagues Professor Bahr Weiss (Professor of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, USA) and Dr Lam Trung (Director of Danang Oncology Hospital, Vietnam) to Cardiff University. The purpose of the visit was to further develop work on the successful NIH pilot grant ‘Understanding patient delay factors in Vietnam’ (PI Prof Weiss) and discuss future work and possible grant proposals. The long-term view of this ongoing collaboration is to establish psycho-oncology services and associated research in Vietnam.

During their visit Prof Weiss and Dr Trung had several meetings across the University and Health Board to further develop international relations and share best practice. External meetings included discussions with Professor Tom Crosby (Medical Director, Welsh Cancer Network), Dr Claire Delduca (Clinical Psychologist, Velindre Cancer Centre), Dr Mark Taubert (Clinical Director, Consultant Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine) and Dr Nikki Pease (Consultant Palliative Medicine and Clinical Lead for Serious Illness Conversation Cymru) and a tour of Velindre Cancer Centre and their psycho-oncology services. Internal meetings included discussions with Professor Anthony Byrne (Clinical Director of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre), Professor Ann-Marie Nelson (Scientific Director of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre) and working meetings with Prof Brain, Dr McCutchan and Dr Quinn-Scoggins.

During the visit Prof Weiss also delivered a presentation at the Division of Population Medicine Academic Meeting titled ‘Development of mental health/oncology collaborations in low resource settings, Vietnam’. The presentation incited interesting discussion about implementation of services in low resource settings, importance of cultural differences in beliefs about the cause and treatment of cancer, and how best to break bad news to patients and family.

Team working meetings centred around the continued development of a patient survey of predictors of cancer treatment-seeking behaviours in Vietnam and interpretation of our systematic review and meta-ethnography results on ‘Psychosocial influences on medical help seeking for cancer symptoms and treatment in lower income countries: a meta-analysis and mixed methods systematic review’. The team are finalising the results from the review to submit for publication over the coming months.

The visit went very well with exciting discussions about next steps and future outcomes. Prof Brain and Dr McCutchan look forward to a possible reciprocal visit to Vietnam later in 2020 to further progress grant activities and deliver more training to on the ground clinical and research staff in Danang.

With special thanks to Cardiff University’s Division of Population Medicine Seedcorn Funding for supporting the visit, to PRIME Centre Wales for kindly welcoming our visitors to their annual dinner and making them feel so welcome, and to colleagues for giving up their time to meet with Prof Weiss and Dr Trung.