UMass professor designing 'toolkit' for breast cancer survivors

Rachel Walker, assistant professor and nurse scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing
Rachel Walker, assistant professor and nurse scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing | Photo Submitted
Rachel Walker, a University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing assistant professor and nurse scientist, recently received a $450,000 research award to develop an "off-the-shelf survivorship support toolkit” for breast cancer survivors.

The Career Catalyst Research Award was handed out by the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. The money will go to help Walker and a  multidisciplinary team work for the next three years on ways to help cancer survivors identify and achieve their post-treatment goals.

“The part of this work I find most exciting is the opportunity to support survivors’ ability to do the things that are truly most important to them, and to have a greater sense of control over their health and well-being following cancer therapy," Walker said.
 
Walker sees a number of post-treatment issues that need to be addressed, including lingering symptoms and effects that can cause a reduction in functioning and activity, the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions, and a need for clear benchmarks. Walker and her team plan to develop a scalable product that can be made widely available to breast cancer survivors.

The team has received separate funding to work on new technologies to assess cancer-related fatigue. That work is funded by Rays of Hope and the College of Nursing’s National Institutes of Health-funded UManage Center for Building the Science of Symptom Self-Management.

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