Flinders University researcher Dr Emma Kemp, working in collaboration with Cancer Council SA, is passionate about the relationship between digital health literacy and accessing cancer information.
A research fellow specialising in psycho-oncology and cancer survivorship, her research highlights that while digital resources can improve people’s access to information and care, there can be significant barriers to using these resources for people living rurally, or for people living with socioeconomic disadvantage.
Digital resources can be anything from online information and websites to videos and downloadable resources.
“Previous research has suggested that access to digital resources can be a problem for people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantages, which has the potential to lead to an even bigger gap for these groups, who already experience poorer cancer outcomes compared to others,” she said.
Being affected by a family diagnosis of cancer early in life, Emma says that having the opportunity to work in an area that has allowed her to contribute to making a positive difference for people a receiving a cancer diagnosis was really important to her.
“I’m glad I took the opportunity, as I’m inspired by the passion of my colleagues and collaborators, and by the stories and contributions of people with lived experience of cancer.”
“I began my career in cancer research coordinating the trial of an online program (Finding My Way), designed to provide information and support for people with early-stage cancers. I then coordinated a series of studies consulting with people with metastatic breast cancer about how this program could be adapted to meet their needs, from which we developed a new program, Finding My Way – Advanced.”
These programs are online coping programs for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer.
“I have a passion for consulting with people with a lived experience of cancer, finding out what their needs are and how these can best be met.”
Emma continues to focus on identifying solutions to overcome the potential barriers to accessing cancer information and support resources experienced by people living rurally, or with socioeconomic disadvantage.
“I’m now focusing on speaking directly with people affected by these circumstances, to find out what their experience of accessing information and support resources has been like and how it could be improved.’’
“Although my research looks at digital resources, as these are increasingly used in health care and in cancer care, I’m also investigating other options such as print resources, and how access and use of these can be improved.”
“We know that getting the right information and support at the right time can make a huge difference.”
Cancer Council SA’s researchers can only do the work they do with your support. To find out more about cancer research and the work that we fund through your generosity visit our research page.
To learn more about Dr Emma Kemp visit her profile.