Cancer patients want to see more research into how the disease will affect their lives, rather than finding a cure, claims a new study.
The Macmillan Listening Study will be presented today at the first National Cancer Research Institute Conference at the ICC in Birmingham. It runs until Wednesday.
The views expressed by 105 cancer patients of different ages reveal a different set of priorities to those shown by the scientific community.
Their top priority for research was to look at the impact cancer has on life, how to live with cancer and related support issues.
Staff at the Macmillan Cancer Research Unit at the University of Southampton discovered patients wanted to know more about the psychological consequences of being diagnosed with cancer, whether a positive attitude helps, how to control pain and what foods can help manage the disease.
The study identified 15 priority research areas, which also included more work into identifying risk factors and causes of cancer - such as genetics, stress and diet - and early detection and prevention of cancer.
Professor Jessica Corner, who conducted the study, said: "This is the first study to consult people affected by cancer on their beliefs about cancer research and involve them from the outset.
"It's apparent patients have clear views on where they believe research funding should be spent but these views reflect a different perspective from the work generated by the expert scientific community.
"Equally worrying is that these priority areas are currently under-represented in UK cancer research and more research needs to be done to address these issues."
The study also raised questions in relation to information needs and whether complementary therapies worked.
Professor Corner added: "It is interesting to note that people's beliefs in what the research agenda for cancer should be is not necessarily influenced by patients' immediate experiences.
"It is also clear the research areas identified in this study need development and, as research bodies depend increasingly on how well they reflect the underlying values of the public, it is now over to the scientific research community to respond positively to these suggestions."