At a glance

Understanding ‘perceived injustice’ in children, young people and parents

Lead researcher

Dr Emma Fisher


University of Bath


Awarded and preparing to start

Amount awarded


Last updated



Thoughts of loss, blame and a sense of unfairness can affect how well cancer pain is managed.

EF Dr Emma Fisher

A diagnosis of cancer is a life-altering event for children, parents, and the wider family network. Each year, 400,000 children develop cancer, and pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms. Despite this, cancer-related pain and thoughts are still not well understood.

Dr Emma Fisher from the University of Bath wants to better understand how cancer-related pain can impact young patients' mental and physical wellbeing, as well of that of their parents.

Her team will focus on 'perceived injustice' - thoughts of loss, blame, a sense of unfairness and irreparability that is related to pain. Previous research has found that adults who report pain as unfair are more distressed, and in turn, experience cancer-related pain more severely. However, little is known about pain and perceived injustice in young people with cancer.

Dr Fisher and her team will explore the links between the perceived injustice of cancer-related pain, and the experience of pain itself. She will also study its impact on mental health, behaviour of parents, and physical functioning in young patients.

Dr Fisher believes that perceived injustice could play a key role in helping young people adjust to their cancer, and her work could lead to new therapies that help young people to manage their pain better.