I currently work as an associate professor at the Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS) at Tilburg University and as a researcher at the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation. I am also a member of PROFILES executive board. My research interests are primarily in the cancer survivorship filed, with a focus on physical (e.g. health status, disease-specific complaints, comorbidity, fatigue) and mental health status (e.g. quality of life, personality, anxiety, depression, illness perception) among cancer survivors. The data for these studies is being collected via the PROFILES system.
In December 2010, I received a VENI-grant from the Netherlands Organisation for scientific Research for the project: “Towards a healthy cancer survivorship: investigating the role of Type D personality in colorectal cancer patients”. Type D personality is defined as the joint tendency towards negative affectivity (e.g. worry, irritability, gloom) and social inhibition (e.g. reticence and a lack of self-assurance). This grant allowed me to investigate the degree to which patient-reported outcomes and health care utilization could be explained by Type D personality, while controlling for clinical characteristics (e.g. treatment, comorbidity), in order to predict which cancer patients experience a self-reported healthy cancer survivorship. The study resulted in quite a number of publications on multiple areas that affect the survivorship experience of colorectal cancer patients. This study however also raised many new questions.
In order to answer these newly raised questions, the PROCORE study was started in 2015. Its goal is to gain insight into the prevalence and severity of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) and its influence on patient-reported outcomes (i.e. health related quality of life, disease-specific complaints, depression, fatigue, sleep problems) among a prospective population-based sample of colorectal cancer patients. Furthermore, we study the role of personality characteristics (e.g. Optimism, Type D personality, mindfulness, illness perception) on CIPN experience and investigate the influence of CIPN on health care utilisation, physical activity, and employment. Finally, we investigate the role of genetic/biological markers of inflammation on HRQOL and pain among patients with CIPN.