Hello. My name is Dorothy Keefe. I’m a medical oncologist and the Clinical Director of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre, in Adelaide, South Australia. I have a clinical practice in predominately breast cancer, lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancers. I joined the Editorial Advisory Board of the Virtual Cancer Centre two or three years ago and my major research interest is in mucositis.
Mucositis is the damage which both chemotherapy and radiotherapy cause to mucosal surfaces of the body, such as the mouth and the bowel. Mucositis is a very distressing side effect of cancer treatments, and can cause pain, ulceration, nausea and diarrhoea, as well as contributing to malnutrition and infection. It causes many hospital admissions and places a huge cost burden on the health system, as well as reducing quality of life. Occasionally it can even be fatal.
Current treatments for mucositis are not adequate, and along with researchers around the world, I’m investigating ways to alleviate the symptoms, as well as to prevent mucositis from occurring. We are also investigating the risk factors for mucositis, so that in the future we may not only be able to match best treatments for the tumour, but also best the treatments to minimise side effects for the patients.
Mucositis is associated with other side effects of cancer treatment and treating it successfully might reduce other toxicities too.
As part of my work with the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer, I’m involved in producing guidelines for the management of mucositis and up to date reviews of the current status of the science behind mucositis as well as its treatments. I’m committed to the philosophy of the Virtual Cancer Centre, in providing up to date and relevant information to cancer patients and their carers. And I’m particularly keen to ensure that prevention and management of mucositis is performed to the best standard possible.
Thank you very much for watching.
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