Photo3.2Dr Susanna Cramb, Cancer Council Queensland

My main research project is conducting the spatial modelling for an Australian cancer atlas, where we quantify and examine differences in cancer incidence and survival at the small-area level across our nation. Although there are some ‘cancer atlases’ available online for Australia already, these examine only incidence and/or mortality for a smaller range of cancers over larger areas, and for visualisation use readily available products. Hence meeting with international researchers to discuss modelling issues and online cancer atlas visualisations was going to be incredibly beneficial, and AEA facilitated this!

The Early Career Travel award from AEA enabled me to travel to Spain and Portugal. In Madrid I met with researchers from the Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Epidemiology Center, Carlos III Institute of Health who had experience in using similar models and providing online and mobile-enabled cancer atlas visualisations. I then travelled onto Porto for the Geomed 2017 conference, where I gave an invited talk titled: “A new approach to small area cancer survival estimation”, and participated in a pre-conference workshop on spatial and spatio-temporal modelling. Because Geomed gathered together world experts in spatial statistics and epidemiology, the collaborative opportunities were exceptional, and many sessions had direct relevance to my work. It was a privilege to meet several eminent people in the field whose work has influenced my research. It also permitted the opportunity to have a detailed discussion about my work with Duncan Lee (Uni of Glasgow). Before the conference concluded, there were three specific people who stated they would be interested in collaborating on survival models and/or cancer epidemiology. I also gleaned ideas for data sources, greater understanding of current work being undertaken, and even reconnected with fellow Australians from other states who had also travelled to Geomed. This knowledge has already benefitted my own and my PhD student’s research. I am very grateful to AEA for providing funding towards this opportunity which has already been advantageous to my career, and is likely to lead to additional projects in the future. Gracias and Obrigada (thank you in Spanish and Portuguese, respectively).