Hunter Cancer Research Alliance

As a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional alliance, the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance (HCRA) functions to provide capacity building, funding and strategic support to cancer research across the translational research continuum – from basic research through clinical trials to behavioural, implementation and health services research.

With the support of our partnering institutions, executive leaders and a membership that consists of 250+ cancer-focused researchers, we are working to promote the excellence of cancer research in the Hunter and ultimately improve cancer patient outcomes in our region and beyond.

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HCRA Director, Professor Stephen Ackland, explains the work of HCRA in the video below:


BMJ Open

Smoking cessation care among patients with head and neck cancer: a systematic review

Kristen McCarter, Úrsula Martínez, Ben Britton, Amanda Baker, Billie Bonevski, Gregory Carter, Alison Beck, Chris Wratten, Ashleigh Guillaumier, Sean A Halpin, Luke Wolfenden


Purpose:To examine the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in improving cessation rates and smoking related behaviour in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC).

Methods: We searched the following data sources: CENTRAL in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL up to February 2016. A search of reference lists of included studies and Google Scholar (first 200 citations published online between 2000 and February 2016) was also undertaken. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool (EPHPP). 2 study authors independently screened and extracted data with disagreements resolved via consensus.

Results: Of the 5167 studies identified, 3 were eligible and included in the review. Trial designs of included studies were 2 randomised controlled trials and 1 non-randomised controlled trial. 2 studies received a weak methodological rating and 1 received a moderate methodological rating. The trials examine the impact of the following interventions: (1) nurse delivered cognitive–behaviour therapy (CBT) via telephone and accompanied by a workbook, combined with pharmacotherapy; (2) nurse and physician brief advice to quit and information booklets combined with pharmacotherapy; and (3) surgeon delivered enhanced advice to quit smoking augmented by booster sessions. Only the trial of the nurse delivered CBT and pharmacotherapy reported significant increases in smoking cessation rates. 1 study measured quit attempts and the other assessed consumption of cigarettes per day and readiness to change. There was no significant improvement in quit attempts or cigarettes smoked per day among patients in the intervention groups, relative to control.

Conclusion: There are very few studies evaluating the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions that report results specific to the HNC population. The 3 trials identified reported equivocal findings. Extended CBT counselling coupled with pharmacotherapy may be effective.

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The University of Newcastle, Australia Hunter New England Local Health District Calvary Mater Newcastle Hunter Medical Research Institute Cancer Institute NSW