Conference and Professional Development Grant recipient: Mariana De Souza E Sousa

5 June 2014
Mariana De Sousa E Sousa crop

Clinician and PhD candidate Dr Mariana De Souza E Sousa participated in the 2013 Global Breast Cancer Conference (GBCC), thanks to a Conference and Professional Development Grant from the TCRN. Mariana is a researcher in the Psychosocial Research Group based in the Prince of Wales Clinical School at UNSW,

Mariana delivered an oral presentation on the results of her qualitative research exploring knowledge, attitudes and experiences of living with genitourinary symptoms, associated quality of life and sexual issues in breast cancer survivors taking endocrine therapy. “The theme for the 2013 GBCC meeting in Seoul was: Together we challenge! Together we win! This international meeting highlighted the importance of multidisciplinary actions and personalised approaches in order to meet one shared objective: to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients” described Sousa.

Sousa explains that “as well as following current trends, the conference emphasised the importance of improvements on survivors’ quality of life. Understanding how breast cancer survivors perceive and cope with genitourinary symptoms provides insight on strategies that can help in symptom management. The findings from this research will assist in the design and conduct of future studies exploring genitourinary symptoms and health-related quality of life in breast cancer survivors.”

One area of the meeting of particular interest to Sousa covered the trends and realities of breast cancer epidemiology and treatment in developing countries; “Unlike developed countries where women have a better breast cancer prognosis due to ongoing advances in early detection and effective treatment, the reality for breast cancer patients in developing countries is very different,” she says.

“There is general indifference towards the health of women and the delay in diagnosis, lack of appropriate treatment facilities and the high cost of treatment all contribute to advanced disease, poor prognosis and non-compliance with treatment and follow-up,” she continued.

“The meeting promoted an increased focus on public health education, the importance of screening as well as the creation of improved facilities for cancer treatment with reduced costs” 

Sousa has spent most of her career in medicine, specialising in women’s health. “Learning how to successfully translate evidence from research into practice is invaluable for applying the results of my research into a ‘real world’ setting, and making practical recommendations for current policy and practice,” she says.  

Mariana reflected that the opportunity to attend the 2013 GBCC via the support of the TCRN is particularly valuable at this stage of her career. “Networking and career development opportunities are vitally important for early career researchers”

Grant snapshot

Funding Round: Round 2, 2013

Conference: Global Breast Cancer Conference 2013

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Objective: Oral presentation