#7 – Psycho-oncology with Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly

psycho-oncology with dr ursula samson-daly

Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Behavioural Sciences Unit, in the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, which is the largest research group dedicated to paediatric psycho-oncology in Australia and New Zealand.  She also works as the clinical psychology registrar for the Sydney Youth Cancer Service, the largest team dedicated to the care of adolescent and young adult (AYAs) cancer patients in Sydney.  Through this role Ursula has worked with young people and families living with cancer on a range or presenting issues across the cancer trajectory.

Ursula recently completed her PhD as a Leukaemia Foundation of Australia PhD scholar, researching psychological mechanisms that underpin adaptation to cancer among adolescents and young adults.  In 2014 Ursula was awarded the Inaugural Cancer Institute NSW ‘Rising Star’ PhD student award in recognition of this work.

Ursula recognises that research is not for everyone, but says her love for reading, thinking of ideas and writing means she gets excited about writing papers!!  She also talks about the career benefits of marrying clinical and research work so listen to this episode and you might get excited too!

I recently saw Ursula speaking at a Tele-mental Health conference in Adelaide about her teams research on the ReCaPTure LiFe Program (Resilience and Coping skills for young People To Live well Following Cancer) – an online intervention for AYAs aged 15-25 years in the first year post-treatment.  I was excited to hear from someone in the early stages of their career so passionate about using E-health technologies  to support vulnerable and isolated populations in Australia, an area that is expected to grow rapidly in the future.

Ursula's Self Care Tip

More generally Ursula suggests getting lots of sleep, exercise for de-stressing and engaging in hobbies that you enjoy and make your outside of work life meaningful, so that work is not everything.

Ursula also reminds us of the importance of “really good clinical supervision” and whilst this was uncomfortable for her at first, she recommends taking a mental health care day when you need it.

Other Links

APS Members Groups – Psychologists in Oncology

The Albion Centre

Cancer Council 




Leave me a comment or some feedback about this episode in the comments section directly below, perhaps we'll get a conversation started.  I’ll respond to everyone!


Amy Felman

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