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Understanding the long-term implications of treatment of rare brain tumours on health-related quality of life: a European cross-sectional study


Project Description

The prognosis of brain tumours varies greatly per subgroup and can depend on the molecular profile of the tumour. Patients diagnosed with oligodendroglioma with a specific molecular profile represent rare tumour groups (about 10% of adult gliomas) with relatively favourable prognosis (median survival between 8 and 12 years). These patients are often treated with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. However, as patients live for a long period of time, they may also experience long-term toxic side-effects of treatment.

The long-term consequences of treatment- and disease-related factors on quality of life and cognitive functioning of these patients is largely unknown. Because these tumours are quite rare, we need to work collaboratively across Europe. More knowledge on the long-term effects of the disease and treatment can support healthcare professionals prepare patients for any long-term consequences of treatment, and may aid in determining to what extent patients may benefit from supportive interventions.

We anticipate the PhD research to involve:
- A systematic review to identify the long-term impact of brain tumours on patients’ lives;
- Co-ordinate the administration of questionnaires to assess quality of life, mood, and fatigue as well as a brief set of neuropsychological tests to measure cognitive functioning to a total of 200 patients;
- There is the potential to add a qualitative strand to the research, performing interviews with a small subset of patients (~20) and/or healthcare professionals to identify long-term consequences of treatment that are not picked up by the questionnaires and tests.

You will work in close collaboration with the EORTC Quality of Life and Brain Tumor Groups, whose members will help recruit patients. You will support the submissions to the Research Ethics Committees, and will coordinate the data collection and analysis. Travel to the Groups bi-annual meetings will be required to present progress on the project and strengthen collaborations. In addition, some travel within the UK may be required to support data collection.

Environment:
You will be based in the Section of Patient Centred Outcomes Research (PCOR), Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James’s (LIMR), University of Leeds. Collectively, PCOR has wide experience in studies in psychosocial oncology and patient-reported outcomes (https://pcor.org.uk/). You will work collaboratively with a number of key stakeholders on the project, including patient representatives and the EORTC Brain Tumor Group, Quality of Life Group, and the EORTC Quality of Life Department (based in Brussels, Belgium). This will ensure wide representation of patients and the treatments they have received, and increases the chance of reaching the desired sample size of 200 patients with this rare brain tumour.

Training will be provided in the relevant areas from within PCOR and the University of Leeds, as well as via EORTC and through external courses.

Eligibility:
You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject. This project would suit a student with a strong background in health psychology, neuropsychology, or health sciences. Excellent communication skills, experience in working with patients and strong knowledge of statistics would be ideal.

The Faculty minimum requirements for candidates whose first language is not English are:
• British Council IELTS – score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT – overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form using the link below https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/78/fmh_scholarship_application_form_2018_2019 and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree certificates and transcripts to the Faculty Graduate School at

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Friday 29 October 2019.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to .

Funding Notes

The scholarship is funded by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTIC). It will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £15,009 and renewed annually subject to satisfactory academic progression. Academic fees will also be provided at the UK/EU rate.
Interviews are likely to be early December 2019.
This project is available to start from 1 January 2020, but there will be flexibility for the right candidate.

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