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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.

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.


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

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

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.

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,

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.


Cluster lead

Katriina Whitaker profile image

Dr Katriina Whitaker

Reader in Cancer Care

Cluster members

Susie Aldiss profile image

Susie Aldiss

Research Fellow (Child Health)

Anne Arber profile image

Dr Anne Arber

Visiting Reader in Cancer and Palliative Care

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David Brighton

Teaching Fellow in health science (eLearning)

Jane Cockle-Hearne profile image

Jane Cockle Hearne

Research Fellow

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Dr Marianne Coleman

Research Fellow (eHealth and Maternal, Child and Family Health)

Karen Cook profile image

Karen Cook

Post-graduate researcher/PhD Student

Debbie Cooke profile image

Dr Debbie Cooke

Senior Lecturer

Melaine Coward profile image

Professor Melaine Coward

Head of the School of Health Sciences

Sara Faithfull profile image

Professor Sara Faithfull

Professor of Cancer Nursing Practice, Lead for Clinical Innovation

Faith Gibson profile image

Professor Faith Gibson

Professor of Child Health and Cancer Care

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Dr Jenny Harris

Lecturer in Cancer Care

Agnieszka Lemanska profile image

Dr Agnieszka Lemanska

Lecturer in Integrated Care

Afrodita Marcu profile image

Dr Afrodita Marcu

Research Fellow (RA II)

Jackie McBride profile image

Jackie McBride

Senior Teaching Fellow in Integrated Care, Head of Professional Preparation within Integrated Care

Karen Poole profile image

Dr Karen Poole

Teaching Fellow

Emma Ream profile image

Professor Emma Ream

Professor, Director of Health Sciences Research

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Hanna Skrobanski

PhD Student

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