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

Research interests

Cancer care is changing, as the challenge of increasing disease incidence and prevalence impacts on health services. This increase is partly as a result of the ageing population, but is also good news in that better detection and treatment has led to more survivors.

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 to improving cancer survival- and is importantly related to improved patient experience and quality of life.

Changing the way we diagnose and support people with cancer – and families managing cancer – is a priority to meet increasing demands and care needs.

The School of Health Sciences has a large group of health science researchers working across the age span and disease course - from diagnosis to survivorship and palliative care - in the field of cancer care.

Research areas

  • Early diagnosis
  • Cancer as chronic condition: Influence of cancer treatment on people, 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
  • Ehealth/Connected Health, supportive technologies and training to facilitate self-management

Research methodologies

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

Research partnerships

  • NHS partners (including NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Clatterbridge, Frimley Park, Surrey Sussex NHS, Royal Marsden, Royal Surrey, St Georges, Guys and St Thomas’s, Newcastle Royal Infirmary, University College London Hospitals, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust)
  • Charities (Macmillan Cancer Support, Dimbleby Cancer Care, Prostate Cancer UK, Movember, Cancer Research UK, CLIC Sargent, Children with Cancer UK, Teenage Cancer Trust)
  • The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
  • Kent, Surrey, Sussex Clinical Research Network
  • National Institute of Health Research Clinical Study Groups (Primary Care, Early diagnosis, Teenagers and Young Adults, Brain Tumour)
  • Public and Patient Involvement (e.g. European Cancer Patient Coalition as an eSMART partner, and Independent Cancer Patients’ Voice)

Cluster lead

Katriina Whitaker Senior Lecturer and Lead in Cancer Care

Cluster members

Susie Aldiss

Research Fellow in Child Health and Cancer Care

Anne Arber

Senior Lecturer in Cancer and Palliative Care

Fiona Archer Research Assistant
Isaac Badu Appiah Postgraduate Researcher
David Brighton Teaching Fellow in Integrated Care (eLearning)
Jane Cockle-Hearne Research Fellow
Marianne Coleman Research Fellow
Karen Cook Teaching Fellow in Adult Nursing
Deborah Cooke Senior Lecturer (Health Sciences), Associate Dean (Doctoral College)
Melaine Coward Head of School of Health Sciences
Sara Faithfull Professor of Cancer Nursing Practice, Lead for Clinical Innovation
Faith Gibson Professor of Child Health and Cancer Care
Michelle King-Okoye Postgraduate Researcher
Naomi Klepacz Research Fellow (Psychology)
Agnieszka Lemanska Lecturer in Integrated Care
Afrodita Marcu Research Fellow
Jackie McBride Head of Professional Preparation within Integrated Care
Penny Franklin Postgraduate Researcher
Karen Poole Lecturer in Cancer Care
Presanna Premachandra Postgraduate Researcher
Emma Ream Professor, Director of Health Sciences Research
Hanna Skrobanski Postgraduate Researcher

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>Faithfull S, Samuel C, Lemanska A, Warnock C, Greenfield D. (2015) '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

Marcu, A., Black, G., Vedsted, P., Lyratzopoulos, G., Whitaker, K.L. (2017). Educational differences in responses to breast cancer symptoms: A qualitative comparative study. British Journal of Health Psychology, 22, Specialist nurse key worker role development in children’s cancer care: professionals’ perspectives on the core characteristics of the role.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.