The European Cancer Congress 2013

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EONS Research Travel Grant 2013

About the Award: The EONS Research travel grant, launched in 2013, is awarded to fund the visit to the host institution (this includes travel at economy fare, accommodation and expenses). The aim of this Research travel grant is to enable a novice or established researcher to spend time with an established researcher or research group in another country, in order to build collaborations and facilitate research proposal development.


Recipient: Gianluca Catania

Gianluca Catania is a nurse at IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, a research teaching hospital in Genoa (Italy). He has been working at the Palliative Care Regional Network Unit as educator and researcher in palliative care. He received his Oncology and Palliative Care Master’s Degree in 2006 and his Master of Science in Nursing in 2010.

In 2006, he won the Dissertation Research Award for his thesis entitled ‘Testing an instrument measuring Italian nurses’ knowledge and attitudes regarding pain’.In 2007 he won the Genoa Board of Registered Nursing Award for his research project:‘Quality of Informed Consent in Clinical Trials’.

Gianluca is currently a PhD student at the Department of Health Sciences at Genoa University, Italy. His principal research interest concerns the development and implementation of a complex intervention focused on quality of life assessment in palliative care practice. He has been the principal investigator for several studies on validation of questionnaire/survey tools and clinical trials nurse’s role, where the  results are published in international peer-reviewed journals. In January 2013, through the EONS Clinical Travel Grant, he had the chance to visit St Christopher’s Hospice in London (UK) to gain insight into the issues that have made the implementation of quality of life assessment in palliative care practice successful. Gianluca  is a member of the Italian Oncology Nursing Association (AIIAO), the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA) and the Italian Palliative Care Association (SICP).


Recipient: Nikolaos Efstathiou

Dr. Nikolaos Efstathiou is a lecturer at the University of Birmingham (Nursing & Physiotherapy), School of Health and Population Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences. 

Originally from Greece, he qualified as a nurse from the Technological Educational Institute of Athens in 1992. After completing 18 months of compulsory military service in a nursing capacity, he was awarded a grant from the Institution of Greek State Scholarships (I.K.Y) to study for an MSc in UK (University of Wales). In 1996, he started working as a critical care nurse in a busy Intensive Care Unit in Athens. While working, he studied part time for his PhD (University of Glamorgan), which was completed in 2004. His PhD thesis explored healthcare providers and users’ perceptions of oncology care provision in Greece.

The last nine years, he is working as a nursing lecturer in Higher Educational Institutions in UK. Main areas of teaching include critical care nursing, anatomy and physiology, palliative and end of life care, and research methods.  Palliative and end of life care has been his main research interest since he completed his PhD.  Recently he completed a study investigating critical care nurses’ experiences of providing end of life care and is interested in evaluating the relatives’ experience of having a patient dying in critical care. At his current lecturer post, he is also the programme lead and supervisor for the postgraduate programme ‘Health Research (MRes) for nursing and midwifery’ that has a predominantly focus on palliative and end of life care.

He has been a member of EONS for more than 10 years and was pleased to receive the 2013 EONS Research Travel Grant. With the grant he is planning to visit the Nursing Palliative Care Research and Education Unit (NPCREU) at the University of Ottawa, where he will attempt to build further capacity in nursing and inter-professional palliative and end of life care research.


Recipient: Ylva Hellstadius

Ylva Hellstadius graduated as a nurse in June 2010 and as a Master of Science in Research methodology in December 2012. She has a clinical background in Palliative care, where her passion for individualised care and supportive cancer research started.

In February 2013 she was registered as a PhD-student at the Unit of Upper Gastrointestinal Research (UGIR) at the department of Molecular medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Ylva’s research is focused on the emotional recovery following oesophageal cancer surgery. Oesophageal cancer is a devastating disease with a poor prognosis. Surgical resection is the main potentially curative treatment and the operation is more extensive than any other standard surgical procedure. Previous research, however, has mainly focused on morbidity and mortality following surgery. As a consequence little is known about emotional distress outcomes (e.g. anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress) in this patient group and which factors are predictive of post-operative distress.

UGIR has an on-going comprehensive collaborative data collection with the Department of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. With generous support from the EONS Research Travel Grant, Ylva will now be able to conduct two months of full-time research at this department, as a part of her PhD-project. She will have the opportunity to work closely with newly collected data containing detailed information on a range of emotional distress outcomes among surgically treated oesophageal cancer patients.

This work is of great importance due to the limited research conducted on emotional distress in this extremely vulnerable patient group thus far. The results from Ylva’s research may be used to inform strategies to reduce patients’ suffering, and improve post-operative adaptation and survivorship among these patients.

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