Cancer research cluster

Our mission is to improve cancer care for all. We work with experts from diverse disciplines - technology, science, engineering, psychology - alongside NHS professionals, plus patients and their families, from the very young to the very old. When we work together, we create innovative ways of being diagnosed quicker and living well, with and beyond cancer. Our work helps optimise cancer outcomes and impacts positively on experiences of care.

Research interests

Evidence shows that people with cancer have unmet needs, particularly at the point of diagnosis, end of treatment and longer term. Whilst some people feel well, others are struggling with the consequences of cancer treatment, creating a burden of illness that impacts on quality of life, patient outcomes and family life. Early diagnosis is considered a cornerstone of improving cancer survival- and is importantly related to improved patient experience and quality of life.

Our work focuses on changing the way we diagnose and support people with cancer – and families managing cancer – in order to meet increasing demands and care needs. We work across the age span and disease course - from diagnosis to survivorship and palliative care.

Research areas

  • Early diagnosis
  • Cancer as chronic condition: Influence of cancer treatment on people, informal carers, parents, siblings and other family members. Specific interests include: symptom assessment and management; psychological support needs; multi-morbidity; survivorship and end of life care
  • Digital health/connected health, supportive technologies and web-based programmes to support mental and physical health for people with cancer.

Research methodologies

  • Participant co-design
  • Mixed methods
  • Development and evaluation of complex interventions
  • Film technologies
  • Creative arts based approaches.


Areas of interest for doctoral study

The Cancer cluster welcomes approaches from people wishing to undertake PhD study here with us. We particularly welcome enquiries in the following areas:

  • Prevention and early diagnosis
  • Supportive care and innovations
  • Cancer in children, teenagers and young adults
  • Digital health

Please contact Freda Mold ( and Debbie Cooke ( our Health Sciences, Postgraduate Research Directors if you are considering PhD study.

Example projects

Recent publications

Arber A, Odelius A, Williams P, Lemanska A, Faithfull S. (2017). Do patients on oral chemotherapy have sufficient knowledge for optimal adherence? A mixed methods study. European Journal of Cancer Care, doi: 10.1111/ecc.12413.

Cockle-Hearne J, Barnett D, Hicks J, Simpson M, White I, Faithfull S. (2018) A web-based intervention to reduce distress after prostate cancer treatment: Development and feasibility of the Getting Down to Coping Program in two different clinical settings. JMIR Cancer, 4(1):e8.

Cox A, Lucas G, Marcu A, Piano M, Grosvenor W, Mold F, Maguire R, Ream E. (2017) Cancer survivors' experience with telehealth: A systematic review and thematic synthesis. JMIR, 19:e11. 

Davies H, Marcu A, Vested P, Whitaker KL. (2018). Is lower symptom recognition associated with socioeconomic inequalities in help-seeking for potential breast cancer symptoms? Psycho-oncology, 27:626-632.

Faithfull S, Samuel C, Lemanska A, Warnock C, Greenfield D. (2016) 'Self-reported competence in long term care provision for adult cancer survivors: A cross sectional survey of nursing and allied health care professionals'. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 53:85-94.

Franklin P, Arber A, Reed L, Ream E. (2018) Health and social care professionals' experiences of supporting parents and their dependent children during, and following, the death of a parent: A qualitative review and thematic synthesis. Palliative Medicine, doi: 10.1177/0269216318803494.Harris J, Cornelius V, Cheevers K, Ream E, Armes J (2017) Anxiety after completion of treatment for early stage breast cancer: a systematic review to identify candidate predictors and evaluate multivariable model development, Supportive Care in Cancer 25: 2321-2333

Marcu A, Black G, Vedsted P, Lyratzopoulos G, Whitaker KL. (2017). Educational differences in responses to breast cancer symptoms: A qualitative comparative study. British Journal of Health Psychology,

Maguire R, Fox PA, McCann L, Miaskowski C, Kotronoulas G, Miller M, Furlong E, Ream E, Armes J, Patiraki E, Gaiger A, Berg GV, Flowerday A, Donnan P, McCrone P, Apostolidis K, Harris J, Katsaragakis S, Buick AR, Kearney N. (2017). The eSMART study protocol: a randomised controlled trial to evaluate electronic symptom management using the advanced symptom management system (ASyMS) remote technology for patients with cancer. BMJ Open, 7: e015016.

Ngwenya N, Kenten C, Jones L, Gibson F, Pearce S, Flatley M, Hough R, Stirling LC, Taylor RM, Wong G, Whelan J. (2017). Experiences and preferences for end of life care for young adults with cancer and their informal carers: a narrative synthesis. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology 6 (2), 200-212 doi: 10.1089/jayao.2016.0055.

Tsianakas V, Harris J, Ream E, Van Hemelrijck M, Purushotham A, Mucci L, Green JSA, Fewster J, Armes J (2017). CanWalk: a feasibility study with embedded randomised controlled trial pilot of a walking intervention for people with recurrent or metastatic cancer. BMJ Open 2017;7:e013719. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013719

Tsianakas V, Robert G, Richardson A, Verity R, Oakley C, Murrells T, Flynn M, Ream E. (2015). Enhancing the experience of carers in the chemotherapy outpatient setting: an exploratory randomised controlled trial to test impact, acceptability and feasibility of a complex intervention co-designed by carers and staff'. Supportive Care in Cancer, 23 (10), pp. 3069-3080.

Whitaker KL, Smith CF, Winstanley K, Wardle J. (2016) 'What prompts help-seeking for cancer 'alarm' symptoms? A primary care based survey'. British Journal of Cancer, 114 (3), pp. 334-339.

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686700
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Find us

School of Health Sciences
Kate Granger Building
30 Priestley Road, Surrey Research Park