Student Projects

Use of complementary and alternative medicine and outcomes after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Project Supervisor/s

Suitable for a Masters (preferably part-time) or Honours student. Some experience in biostatistics and data analysis is essential and a background in epidemiology and/or an interest in cancer are highly desirable.

The use of complementary therapies by cancer patients is common but contentious, particularly during chemotherapy. Survivors often use complementary medicine in the hope it will improve their wellbeing, alleviate chemotherapy side effects, boost immune function, and perhaps improve their long-term survival. There is little information about the use of complementary and alternative therapies by women with ovarian cancer, if/how this changes after their cancer diagnosis, what women use during treatment or how this might affect their wellbeing and, ultimately, their survival.


To document the prevalence of use of complementary and alternative therapies by women with ovarian cancer, changes in use after diagnosis, and the relation between use and wellbeing and survival.


This project could include some/all of the following components:

(i) A literature review of the current evidence.

(ii) Descriptive analyses of what women use and how this changes from before diagnosis to during treatment, after treatment and after recurrence.

(iii) Analysis of factors associated with use or that predict changes in use.

(iv) Analyses of the relation between use, symptoms and side-effects, and wellbeing.

(vi) Analyses of the relation between use and survival.

Analyses will use individual-level data from women in the OPAL study who provided information about complementary and alternative therapy use before and after diagnosis (3-monthly for the first year then annually to 4 years).

To apply for this project, please contact the project supervisor/s

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