Using health data to reduce prostate cancer side effects

Dr Quirk
Dr Sarah Quirk
In a world driven by data, Dr Sarah Quirk saw an opportunity to improve cancer treatment simply by changing how health data is collected. Right now, much of the cancer patient information gathered during and following radiation treatments is extracted manually. Type of cancer therapy given, dosing schedule and dose given, for example, may be documented quite readily by the radiation medicine system used to deliver the treatment.

But radiation treatments can come with a lot of side effects and manually collecting those details and then connecting them with other clinical data can miss a lot of information that might be helpful in determining how effective treatment is, and the number and severity of those side effects.

Dr Quirk is working to change that for people with cancer.

She and her team are developing a system to automate the collection of detailed radiation therapy data for prostate cancer patients. This work – which your support helps make possible – is beginning on a group of 1,500 people with prostate cancer who have been treated with radiotherapy. 

The result? More complete records of all details of the treatment, its side effects and its outcomes will help to model the effectiveness of the particular treatment protocol.

For people with prostate cancer, this means the most effective treatment protocols with the fewest side effects can be followed, ultimately improving results and enhancing quality of life during treatment.