Jos van Dijck’s research focus is on the effectiveness of follow-up of cancer patients who have been treated with curative intent. These patients enter a follow-up programme that, among other goals, aims at early detection and treatment of recurrent cancer, such as locoregional recurrences, distant metastases or new primary cancers. Many tests are carried out up to 10 years or more after initial treatment. However, early detection of recurrences is only meaningful if curative therapies are available, and if early detection of recurrences improves the prognosis. Only then it is possible to increase patient’s life-expectancy, without decreasing quality of life. Most follow-up programmes are consensus-based as there is lack of evidence which patients should be tested how often with what tests.
Her PhD thesis, on the effectiveness of breast cancer screening in elderly women (1996), led to the decision to increase the upper age limit of the Dutch screening programme from 70 to 75 years. After her PhD graduation, Jos was head of the departments of Cancer Registry and Trial Bureau at the former Comprehensive Cancer Centre East for 10 years.
Besides a researcher, Jos is also a teacher of epidemiology and research methodology.
For most cancer types, it is unknown whether routine follow-up tests in the years following treatment have an impact on life-expectancy and quality of life. The research aim is to study which for which patients routine testing may be beneficial. On the one hand, patient data are used to study which patients are diagnosed with recurrent cancer, by which tests and whether detection is in the asymptomatic or symptomatic phase. Next, these data are modeled to come to an advice according routine testing of cancer patients.
National & International Personal Prizes & Awards
Junior Principal Lecturer