OPEN Research Support

Astrid Næraa Høeg Vendelsøe
Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital, Lillebaelt Hospital

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Open
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.10.2022  
Slut 30.06.2022  

The Outreach Study: Barriers in cancer care for patients with mental comorbidity

Short summary

Cancer patients with a history of mental illness is even more challenged than others when facing cancer. Mental illness might complicate treatment, and oncologic disease and treatment may exaggerate mental symptoms. The patients are often suboptimally treated resulting in low well-being and higher cancer morbidity and mortality. Based on a participatory design, The Outreach Study aims to explore these problems in order to design an intervention that will help the patients through their treatment


Patients with mental illness have the same cancer incidence but worse cancer survival than patients without mental illness. Patients with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder face two- to threefold higher mortality rates than patients without, corresponding to a 15 - 20 years shorter life expectancy.

Ethical and moral principles require that we search for new ways to better understand barriers of care and agree on new ways to address them. This is further underscored by national health authorities and cancer guidelines.

Collaboration between different sectors surrounding the patient in the form of Shared care models present an opportunity for patients to receive the benefits of specialist care combined with the continuity of care and management of comorbidity provided by the general practitioner and mental health care. More involvement of general practitioners is demanded by patients and society and is shown to improve quality of cancer care. We have previously shown the feasibility and usefulness of bringing together professionals from different sectors to share treatment planning and decision-making in oncology using video consultations. Involving patients, relatives and professionals in research and clinical practice, for instance in the form of action research and shared decision-making, has a beneficial effect in intervention development and implementation. The same positive effects have been shown for patients with mental illness. A research-based process where patients, clinicians, and researchers partner up to expand knowledge and develop a feasible model with long-term visions may be a fruitful way to reach the goal of minimizing inequity.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to explore the needs of cancer patients with mental illness and their relatives and professionals as well as possible solutions in order to later co-develop an intervention supporting people with mental comorbidity through their oncologic treatment.

Description of the cohort

Participants include A) Patiens aged 20 with a psychiatric illness referred to the Department of Oncology, Vejle B) Their relatives C) Health care professionals at the Oncology Department in Vejle, at the psychiatric department in Vejle and possibly general practitioners working with patients, D) Social workers in the municipality working with the patients

Data and biological material

Transcribed interviews and field study observations.