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Prof Afaf Girgis

Director, Psycho-oncology Research Group

The Psycho-Oncology Research Group investigates the psychological, social and behavioural aspects of cancer, from the time of a cancer diagnosis until end of life. Our psycho-oncology research program is translational in its focus, in that our priority research areas are informed by the challenges faced by those providing and receiving cancer care; we apply the most stringent research methods to develop a strong evidence base to inform best practice; and we engage early with key stakeholders and policy makers to maximise evidence-informed cancer care.
Our research addresses some of the major psychosocial dimensions of cancer, including:
• Understanding the unmet needs and responses of patients, their families and caregivers to cancer at all stages of the disease.
• Determining the influence of the content and process of communication between the health care team and the patient and family on coping, treatment compliance and psychosocial outcomes.
• Identifying the psychological, behavioural and social factors which may influence the disease process, including the impact of cultural, language and socioeconomic differences.
Developing and testing strategies that can be implemented within health services to minimise the negative impact of cancer.


A1 - Book

  • Neil Merrett, Nam Nguyen, Andrew Biankin 2010, When cancer crosses disciplines: A physicians handbook, eds Merrett N, Nguyen N, Biankin AWorld Scientific Pub Co, London, ISBN 9781848163645

B1 - Book Chapter

  • Levesque JV; Girgis A; Ward PR 2016, Cancer, chronic conditions and social disadvantage-the perfect storm, in Cancer and Chronic Conditions: Addressing the Problem of Multimorbidity in Cancer Patients and Survivors, , ISBN 9789811018442
  • Lambert SD; Levesque JV; Girgis A 2016, The impact of cancer and chronic conditions on caregivers and family members, in Cancer and Chronic Conditions: Addressing the Problem of Multimorbidity in Cancer Patients and Survivors, , ISBN 9789811018442

C1 - Journal Article

E1 - Conference Abstract

  • Shepherd H; Shaw J; Price M; Butow P; Dhillon H; Kirsten L; Girgis A; Kelly B 2017, Making Screening, Assessment, Referral and Management of Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Care a Reality: Developing a System Addressing Barriers and Facilitators to Support Sustainable Implementation, WILEY, vol. 13, p. 70
  • Smith B; Agar M; Delaney G; Descallar J; Dobell-Brown K; Grand M; Aung JCC; Patel P; Kaadan N; Girgis A 2017, Cancer Research Participation by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Patients in South Western Sydney from 2006 to 2016: A Retrospective Analysis, WILEY, vol. 13, p. 96
  • Paul C; Tzelepis F; Girgis A; Boyes A; DEste C; Sherwood E 2017, Continued Smoking after a Cancer Diagnosis: A Longitudinal Study of Intentions and Attempts to Quit, WILEY, vol. 13, p. 197
  • Lambert S; Girgis A; Hulbert-Williams N; Belzile E 2017, Differential impact of unmet supportive care needs on the anxiety and depression of informal caregivers of cancer survivors: Beyond unmet needs count and prevalence, WILEY, vol. 26, pp. 72-73
  • Girgis A; Delaney GP; Arnold A; Durcinoska I; Gerges M; Kaadan N; Della-Fiorentina S 2017, Does It Matter Who Addresses the Psychosocial Issues as Long as Someone Does?, WILEY, vol. 13, p. 72
  • Lambert S; Ould-Brahim L; Morrison M; Girgis A; Yaffe M; Clayberg K; Robinson J; Thorne S; Bottorff J; Duggleby W 2017, Do researchers, clinicians, managers, and caregivers agree on the priorities for cancer caregiving research? A national and international online Delphi survey and meetings, WILEY, vol. 26, p. 14
  • Galvao D; Newton RU; Girgis A; Lepore SJ; Stiller A; Mihalopoulos C; Gardiner RA; Taaffe DR; Occhipinti S; Chambers S 2017, Effectiveness of a peer led intervention for prostate cancer survivors to increase exercise participation and improve quality of life: a randomised controlled trial, WILEY, vol. 26, p. 10
  • Girgis A; Abernethy AP; Currow DC 2015, "Caring at the end of life: Do cancer caregivers differ from other caregivers?", vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 513-517
  • Chroinin DN, Goldsbury D, O'Connell DL, Beveridge A, Davidson P, Girgis A, Ingham N, Phillips JL, Wilkinson A, Ingham J 2015, Hospital services utilisation amongst older patients in the last year of life: a New South Wales (NSW) population-based study, WILEY-BLACKWELL, vol. 34, pp. 66-67
  • Chroinin DN, Goldsbury D, O'Connell DL, Beveridge A, Davidson P, Girgis A, Ingham N, Phillips JL, Wilkinson A, Ingham J 2015, Patterns of hospital-based healthcare use amongst dementia patients in their last year of life in New South Wales (NSW), WILEY-BLACKWELL, vol. 34, p. 22
  • Lambert S, Beatty L, McElduff P, Levesque J, Lawsin C, Turner J, Jacobsen P, Girgis A 2015, Evaluations of written self-administered psychosocial interventions to improve psychosocial and physical outcomes among adults with chronic health conditions: a meta-analysis, WILEY-BLACKWELL, vol. 24, p. 73
  • Galvao DA, Newton RU, Gardiner RA, Girgis A, Lepore S, Stiller A, Mihalopolous C, Occhipinti SS, Chambers SK 2015, Australian prostate cancer survivors compliance to contemporary aerobic and resistance exercise oncology guidelines and associations with psychological distress, unmet supportive care needs and quality of life., Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Clinical-Oncology (ASCO), AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, vol. 33, no. 15
  • Aldridge L; McGrane J; Butow PN; Girgis A; Jefford M; Schofield PR; King M; Eisenbruch M; Yates P; Connell S 2010, Unmet needs in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Greek, and Arabic-speaking cancer survivors in Australia, John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 1810-1813


  • 2013 Paper of the year: Health Services and Epidemiological, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW Medicine, UNSW; Some things change, some things stay the same: A longitudinal analysis of cancer caregivers' unmet supportive care needs.


  • 2020 Enhancing safety and care quality for culturally and linguistically diverse cancer consumers: A consumer engagement approach. Nyan Thit Tieu; Reema Harrison; Holly Seale; Melvin Teck Meng Chin; Afaf Girgis; Allan Benaud Smith; Elizabeth Manias; Merrilyn Walton; Carlene Wilson; National Health & Medical Research Council.
  • 2018 ACRF OASIS Centre for Optimal Cancer Survivorship Delaney, GP*; Girgis, A*; Agar, MR*; Bensoussan, A; Koh, E*; Knight, AW*; Bray, V; Australian Cancer Research Foundation.
  • 2018 Difficult Discussions: Helping adolescents and young adults to voice their choices at end-of-life Sansom-Daly, UM*; Wakefield, CE*; Cohn, RJ*; Wiener, L; Girgis, A*; Sanson-Fisher, R^; Patterson, P; Anazodo, AC*; Jaffe, A*; Donovan, L; Matigian, B; Lindsay, T; O'Dwyer, C; Maguire, F; Drew, D^; HCF HEALTH AND MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION.
  • 2016 Development and implementation of real-world, sustainable, interventions to prevent chronic physical and mental health conditions in paediatric cancer survivors and their families. Wakefield, CE*; Cohn, RJ*; Girgis, A*; Butow, P; King, M; Patterson, P; Wallace, H; Sansom-Daly, U^; Cancer Council NSW.
  • 2016 early-mid career fellowship - health service and systems design ; NSW Health.
  • 2016 Controlled trial of a decision aid for ulcerative colitis patients: Enhancing patients quality of life, empowerment, quality of decision making and disease control Connor, SJ*; Girgis, A*; Andrews, J; Spiegel, C; Gastroenterological Society of Australia.
  • 2015 A sustainable and supported clinical pathway for managing anxiety and depression in cancer patients: Developing and evaluating components and testing implementation strategies Butow, P; Andrews, JG*; Girgis, A*; Kelly, B; Hack, T; Clayton, J; Price, M; Beale, P; Viney, RC^; Kirsten, L; University of Sydney.
  • 2015 Breaking The Silence Around End-Of-Life: Pilot Testing A New Advance Care Planning Guide For Adolescents And Young Adults With Cancer Sansom-Daly, UM*; Wakefield, CE*; Cohn, RJ*; Girgis, A*; Donovan, LA*; Wiener, L; Sanson-Fisher, R^; Patterson, P; Anazodo, A; Drew, D^; Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology & Oncology Group (ANZCHOG).
  • 2015 Critical illness in children: Can we afford to neglect the psychosocial risks? The impact, acceptability, and cost-effectiveness of routine psychosocial assessment and stepped care for families of infants with heart disease Kasparian, NA*; Austin, M*; Girgis, A*; Schofield, D; Sholler, G; Winlaw, D; NATIONAL HEALTH & MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL.
  • 2014 A multicentre phase II randomised controlled trial of a parent/carer-targeted intervention to improve quality of life in families of young cancer survivors. Wakefield, CE*; Cohn, RJ*; Girgis, A*; McCarthy, M; Grootenhuis, M; Sansom-Daly, UM*; Cancer Australia.
  • 2014 Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT) De Souza, PL*; Barton, MB*; Lee, S; Girgis, A*; Delaney, GP*; Bokey, L; Ranson, M; Kienzle, N*; Jones, G; Cancer Institute NSW.
  • 2012 Coping-Together: A randomised controlled trial of a self-directed coping skills intervention for patients with cancer and their partners. Girgis, A*; Lambert, S^; Turner, M; McElduff, P; Kayser, K; Mihalopoulos, C; NATIONAL HEALTH & MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL.
  • 2012 Communication skills training for oncology health care professionals working with culturally and linguistically diverse patients Meiser, B*; Girgis, A*; Butow, P; Hale, SB*; South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.
  • 2012 Feasibility study of an integrated, patient-centered psychosocial care model for patients with urological and head and neck cancers. Girgis, A*; Cancer Institute NSW.
  • 2012 Feasibility study of an oncology nurse practitioner model of care in a rural cancer setting. Afaf Girgis; Cancer Institute NSW.
  • 2012 Translational Cancer Research Unit Psycho-oncology Scholarship. Girgis, A*; Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research.
  • 2011 RCT of a Self-directed Coping Skills Intervention for Patients with Cancer and their Partners. Girgis, A*; Lambert, S^; NATIONAL HEALTH & MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL.
  • Understanding and addressing the training needs of clinicians to improve end-of-life care for adolescents and young adults with cancer worldwide Ursula Margaret Sansom-Daly; Lori Wiener; Anne-Sophie Darlington; Hanneke Poort; Abby Rosenberg; Meaghann Weaver; Jennifer Mack; Joan Haase; Celeste Phillips-Salimi; Karen Wernli; Claire Elizabeth Wakefield; Afaf Girgis; CanTeen.