Breast cancer research grant for UWE Bristol

Issue date: 09 May 2011

Breast Cancer Campaign has awarded a grant worth almost £70,000 to Dr Diana Harcourt at the University of the West of England, Bristol. The three year project will look specifically at finding the best ways to support and help breast cancer patients who experience treatment-related hair loss.

Dr Harcourt will review all the global research carried out on hair-loss support services used to help cancer and other patients, to establish which are the most effective. She will also evaluate the volunteer-run, hospital-based ‘HeadStrong’ service, run by Breast Cancer Care, which provides breast cancer patients with advice on scalp care, wigs and scarves.

Over 100 ‘HeadStrong’ users and non-users will be asked about their hair-loss and treatment. Additionally they will be questioned about appearance concerns, distress, quality of life and the social acceptability of the methods they use to manage their hair-loss. 

Dr Harcourt is Co Director of the Centre for Appearance Research, a multi-disciplinary research centre at the University of the West of England.  Dr Harcourt said, “I will also investigate how effective a self-help technique called expressive writing is for breast cancer patients with hair-loss and will ask 30 women to write about their feelings and concerns regarding losing their hair for 20 minutes daily over four days.”

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research, Breast Cancer Campaign said, “Many breast cancer patients experience hair-loss as a result of life-saving chemotherapy treatment. This change in appearance can cause emotional distress, as well as having an impact on body image and quality of life and we hope this research can help address these issues.”

Diana Jupp, Breast Cancer Care Director of Services said “Our UK-wide HeadStrong services offer practical support and information around hair loss to over 1,200 people every year. Service-users tell us that HeadStrong leaves them feeling more confident and equipped to deal with hair loss but the research provides a great opportunity to better assess the impact our service has on people affected by breast cancer.”


Editor’s notes

Centre for Appearance Research

The Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) is a multi-disciplinary research centre based at the University of the West of England, Bristol. CAR strives to make a real difference to the lives of the many hundreds of thousands of people with appearance-related concerns both in the United Kingdom and across the world.

CAR acts as a focus and centre of excellence for psychological and interdisciplinary research in appearance, disfigurement, body image and related studies.

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