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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.

About our research

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

Aldiss, S., Fern, L.A., Phillips, B., Callaghan, A., Dyker, K., Gravestock, H., Groszmann, M., Hamrang, L., Hough, R., McGeachy, D., Morgan, S., Smith, S., Upadhyaya, S., Veitch, H., Veitch, L., Williamson, M., Whelan, J., Gibson, F. (2019) Research priorities for young people with cancer: a UK priority setting partnership with the James Lind Alliance. BMJ Open, 9(8):e028119.

Aldiss, S., Rose, L., McCutcheon, D., Cass, H., Ellis, J., Gibson, F. (2019) Gathering expert opinion to inform benchmarks to support transitional care. Journal of Child Health Care, 23(1):131-146.

Amelung, D., Whitaker, K.L, (joint first author), Lennard, D., Ogden, M., Sheringham, J., Zhou, Y., Walter, F.M., Singh, H., Vincent, C., Black G. (2019) The influence of doctor-patient conversations on behaviours of patients presenting to primary care with new or persistent symptoms: A video observation study. BMJ Quality Safety,

Bryan, G., Bluebond-Langner, M., Kelly, D., Kumpunen, S., Oulton, K., Gibson, F. (2019) Studying children’s experiences in interactions with clinicians: identifying methods fit for purpose. Qualitative Health Research, 29 (3): 393-403

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.

Franklin, P., Arber, A., Reed, L. Ream, E. (2019) 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, 33(1), pp.49-65.

Kyte, D., Retzer, A., Ahmed, K., Keeley, T., Armes, J., Brown, J.M., Calman, L., Gavin, A., Glaser, A.W., Greenfield, D.M., Lanceley, A., Taylor, R.M., Velikova, G,. Michael D. Brundage., Efficace, F., Mercieca-Bebber, R., King, M.T., Turner, G., Calvert, M. (2019) Systematic evaluation of Patient-Reported Outcome protocol content and reporting in cancer trials, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, jz038,

Lea, S., Gibson, F., Taylor, R.M. (2019) The culture of young people's cancer care: A narrative review and synthesis of the UK literature. European Journal of Cancer Care 28 (3):e13099

Lemanska, A., Poole, K., Griffin, B., Manders, R., Saxton, J.M., Turner, L., Wainwright, J., Faithfull, S. (2019) Community pharmacy lifestyle intervention to increase physical activity and improve cardiovascular health of men with prostate cancer: a phase II feasibility study, BMJ Open 9 (6) e025114 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025114

Marcu, A., Muller, C., Ream, E., Whitaker, K.L. (2019). Online information-seeking about potential breast cancer symptoms: Capturing online behaviour with an internet browsing tracking tool. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21, e12400,

Martin Payo, R., Harris, J., Armes, J. (2019) Prescribing fitness apps for people with cancer: a preliminary assessment of content and quality of commercially available apps, Journal of Cancer Survivorship,

Pearce. S., Whelan, J., Kelly, D., Gibson, F. (2019) Renegotiation of identity in young adults with cancer: a longitudinal narrative study. International Journal of Nursing Studies 102, 103465

Poole K., Ogden J., Gasson S., Lemanska A., Archer F., Griffin B., Saxton J., Lyons K. and Faithfull S. (2019) Creating a teachable moment in community pharmacy for men with prostate cancer: A qualitative study of lifestyle changes. Psycho-Oncology,

Skrobanski, H., Ream, E., Poole, K., Whitaker, K.L. (2019) Understanding primary care nurses’ contribution to cancer early diagnosis: A systematic review. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 41, 149-164,

Stay connected


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Wow! So inspired by all our fantastic nursing and midwifery colleagues and students ♥️ @UniOfSurrey
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Amazing, congratulations Hanna. Enjoy your celebrations 👏👏👏
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Great opportunity and what an important study. Come join our excellent WOW colleagues at Surrey
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Great work on this vital issue involving our lead @Katriina01 #Cancer #COVID19 #earlydiagnosis

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686700
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School of Health Sciences
Kate Granger Building
30 Priestley Road, Surrey Research Park