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Cancer Care

The Division of Cancer Care consists of a variety individuals and departments involved in research into the care available to patients and their families from point of diagnosis through treatment to post treatment.

RSCH Supportive and Palliative Care Team

The Multinational Society of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) has defined Supportive Care as "the prevention and management of the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment. This includes management of physical and psychological symptoms and side effects across the continuum of the cancer experience from diagnosis through anticancer treatment to post-treatment care. Enhancing rehabilitation, secondary cancer prevention, survivorship and end of life care are integral to Supportive Care".

The Department of Supportive & Palliative Care provides a comprehensive service for patients receiving treatment for cancer and other serious illnesses at the Royal Surrey County Hospital (incorporating St. Luke's Cancer Centre).

The Supportive and Palliative Care Team (SPCT) consists of two consultants in Palliative Medicine, one StR in Palliative Medicine, 5 Clinical Nurse Specialists in Palliative Care, two Research Nurses, one Research Assistant and associated administrative staff. The Clinical Director of the SPCT is Dr Andrew Davies (Consultant in Palliative Medicine; Visiting Senior Fellow of the University of Surrey).

Current research projects include:

  • A cluster randomised trial of alternative forms of hydration in cancer patients in the last days of life
    Sponsor: University of Surrey || Funder: Research for Patient Benefit Programme (NIHR): £227,583
  • An observational study of cancer patients and their carers' views on end of life care
    Sponsor: Royal Surrey County Hospital || Funder: SPCT Research Fund
  • An observational study of preferred place of care/death amongst residential care home residents (in set up)
    Sponsor: (Royal Surrey County Hospital) || Funder: (TBC)
  • Investigation into the impact of salivary gland dysfunction on the pharmacokinetics of oral transmucosal opioids breakthrough cancer pain
    Sponsor: Imperial College London|| Funder: Commercial (pharmaceutical companies)
  • A prospective longitudinal survey exploring the unmet needs of cancer patients in pain
    Sponsor: University of Surrey || Funder: SPCT Research Fund
  • An observational study of the prevalence of vivid dreams, nightmares and sleep/night terrors in patients with advanced cancer
    Sponsor: Royal Surrey County Hospital || Funder: SPCT Research Fund
  • An observational study of the frequency of oral symptoms in patients with advanced cancer
    Sponsor: Royal Surrey County Hospital || Funder: SPCT Research Fund

PhD Students

  • Alison Buchanan
    A longitudinal study of pain and unmet needs. Prof S Faithfull, Dr A Arber, Dr A Davies
  • Dr Shuchita Patel
    A feasibility study of the use of actigraphy to determine prognosis in patients with advanced cancer. Dr A Davies, Prof Derk-Jan Dijk

Find out more at:


Recent Publications

Webber K, Davies A.

An observational study to determine the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in advanced cancer patients. Palliative Medicine 2012; 26: 360-7.

Zeppetella G, Davies A.

Opioids for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD004311.

Davies A, Buchanan A, Zeppetella G, Porta-Sales J, Likar R, Weismayr W et al.

Breakthrough cancer pain: an observational study of 1000 European oncology patients. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2013; 46: 619-28.

Zeppetella G, Davies A, Rios C, Eijgelshoven I, Jansen JP

A network meta-analysis of the efficacy of opioid analgesics for the management of breakthrough cancer pain episodes. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2014: 47: 772-85.

Webber K, Davies AN, Zeppetella G, Cowie MR

Development and validation of the Breakthrough pain Assessment Tool (the "BAT") in cancer patients. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (in press).

Kleeberg UR, Davies A, Jarosz J, Mercadante S, Poulain P, O'Brien T, Schneid H, Kress HG.

Pan-European, open-label dose titration study of fentanyl buccal tablet in patients with breakthrough cancer pain. European Journal of Pain (in press).

Cancer Care Research Group

Our quest is the business of improving cancer care. 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.

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 support self-management.

Research methodologies

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

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)
  • Charities (Macmillan Cancer Support, Dimbleby Cancer Care, Prostate Cancer UK, Movember, Cancer Research UK)
  • The Institute of Cancer Research (Medical Research Council)
  • 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) 

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, 26 (2)doi: 10.1111/ecc.12413.

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 53, pp. 85-94.

Gibson F, Pearce S, Fern L, Martins A, Kelly D. (2017) 'Improving identification of cancer in young people: a scoping review'. Expert Review of Quality of Life in Cancer Care, 2 (2), pp. 87-101.

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, 26-41, doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12215

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.