Since 2005, the Board of the Novo Nordisk Foundation has initiated three research projects with the aim of obtaining well-documented evidence on ways of helping to reduce delays, improve care pathways and improve communication related to treating cancer in Denmark’s health care system.
“Returning to daily life – optimizing the rehabilitation of people with cancer” is the third project. It focuses on the optimum way of helping people who have completed treatment to live life after cancer. In 2009, more than 30,000 people in Denmark completed cancer treatment, and although some relapsed, more than half the people who survive cancer are expected to die from other causes. They continue to live, although many experience the after-effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy and are worried about their future. This was the basis for the project.
In 2010, the Foundation and the Danish Cancer Society each awarded grants of DKK 15 million for the project over 5 years. To ensure that a research question was selected that could be explored, the Danish Cancer Society and the Foundation held a workshop with relevant researchers to discuss possible ways of formulating the research question before the project was opened to competition.
The Foundation awarded the grant to a research group led by Lis Adamsen, who established the Centre for Integrated Rehabilitation of Cancer Patients at the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet – Copenhagen University Hospital the following year.
The Foundation’s vision is that the results of the project will influence not only cancer treatment but all parts of Denmark’s health care system – especially in managing chronic disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders.