Congratulations to Helena Frawley on her mid-career TELE-CONNECT VCA Fellowship

The School of Health Sciences would like to congratulate the School of Health Sciences' A/Prof Helena Frawley who has recently been awarded a VCA Fellowship to make a difference in the TELE-CONNECT project.

Helena FrawleySponsored by the Victorian Cancer Agency, TELE-CONNECT focuses on TELehealth Exercise for CONtinence after GyNaEcological Cancer Treatment.

“I have recently been offered the wonderful opportunity to test how we can help women who have been treated for gynaecological cancer and are living with poor bladder control and related pelvic floor problems following their cancer treatments,” says A/Prof Frawley.

“It’s an area of health care that is so important to a woman’s quality of life, yet remains hidden, surrounded by stigma and embarrassment.”

“I have been working with women and the burden of pelvic floor dysfunction for several decades, and researching this problem for 15 years. To now be able to explore the issue in depth in women following treatment for gynaecological cancer and to test new ways of helping women improve their bladder control, is a fantastic opportunity.”

“In this study we will test if women are able to undertake a pelvic floor muscle training program, delivered via telehealth consultations with an expert pelvic floor physiotherapist, and supported by the use of a novel biofeedback device the woman can use in the privacy of her own home, to confirm the effectiveness of her exercise program. I am grateful to the VCA for the ability to undertake this work, which I hope will move us forward towards improving the quality of a woman’s life following gynaecological cancer.”

Details on the study

This study is a telehealth program to deliver pelvic floor muscle training to women with gynaecological cancer who suffer from urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence affects around one-third of women causing significant physical, social, emotional and financial burden. The prevalence of incontinence is doubled in women with gynaecological cancer.

Although evidence supports pelvic floor muscle training as first-line treatment for urinary incontinence, it is not known whether this treatment is as effective for women following gynaecological cancer treatment. This will be the first randomised trial to address this vital clinical question using the novel method of telehealth.