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Ann Livingstone: The costs, benefits and preferences for adjuvant immunotherapy in melanoma patients

RESEARCH TYPE
T3
PROGRAM
Flagship 3 Scholarships & Awards
TAGS
    Immunotherapy
    Cancer costs
    Skin cancer
    Treatment
STATUS
In Progress

 

Immunotherapy treatment for melanoma is costly to the health system, patients and to the wider community. Health economic evalution is an important tool to assist in proritising healthcare spending, however the side effects of immunotherapy tht impact patients' well-being and physical health, are not commonly included in economic evaluations. In addition, there is little known about the characteristcs of immunotherapy, such as side effects, that influence a patient's decision to undergo adjuvant treatment (i.e. following surgical removal of melanoma). A novel method called discrete choice experiments (DCEs), will survey melanoma patients, and melanoma doctors, to find out their most preferred treatment strategy. Results will determine which characteristics of treatment are most important in decision making regarding immunotherapy. This project will describe the critically assess the costs and benefits as well as the patient doctor preferences for adjuvant immunotherapy among people treated for stage III cutaneous melanoma.

 

Scholarship Awarded:

  • Name: Ann Livingstone
  • Member Group: Melanoma Institute Australia 
  • Year and Duration: 2019 for 2 yearss
  • Amount: Top Up $39,400

 

5 Minutes with Ann

Why did you decide to undertake a PhD in this area?

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Current knowledge does not adequately quantify healthcare system and societal costs adjuvant immunotherapy; the cost-effectiveness of treatment; patients' preferences for adjuvant therapy type; and the impact of treatment on patients. In order to address this knowlegde gap I was keen to combine my 15 years of cancer trial development experience, 3 of which was spent creating lung cancer immunotherapy trials, my previous melanoma clinical experience and answer an important health economic question.

 

Why is your research important in the context of Sydney Catalyst and translational cancer research? 

This research will provide new evidence on the value and impact of adjuvant immunotherapy treatment for melanoma. This work will provide melanoma healthcare professionals, patients, policy makers and funders much needed information about the benefits, costs and patient preferences of adjuvant immunotherapy in melanoma. Ultimately leading to improved treatment discussions, and patient-centred health policy to optimise outcomes. 

 

What is the most rewarding part of your PhD?

Knowing that my research may assist with improving the decision making process for future melanoma patients considering adjuvant immunotherapy treatment is rewarding. My vision is to inform healthcare policy decision making, using economic evaluation and preference elicitation ultimately leading to improved outcomes and quality of life for patients and their carers affected by cancer.

 

How do you achieve a work/life balance with such an all-consuming academic load? What keeps you motivated?

My family keep me motivated and grounded, and remind me to remember what's important.

 

How do your family and friends feel about your PhD? Do they understand what you do?

My 8 year old son keeps asking when I'll be "Dr Ann" - is it this week Mum?

 

What are your plans once you graduate?

First to graduate, then take a holiday! To continue to work in health economics and undertake research that has positive impact on cancer patients and their loved ones.

 

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

Sailing around the Caribbean.

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