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Patient centred models for surveillance and support for breast cancer survivors

Project Description

Improvements in cancer treatment have led to an increasing number of patients being cured or in remission, who are still followed up to detect recurrence, manage persistent symptoms and late treatment effects. With the growing number of people living with cancer, the traditional hospital follow-up is not sustainable. There is still an unmet need to provide cancer survivors with ongoing self-management guidance with clear advice when it is appropriate to contact their key worker in secondary care. There is often lack of clarity on the roles of the different healthcare providers and the responsibility of patients in monitoring their health. New models of follow-up care and better methods of long-term symptom tracking in survivors are urgently needed.

This PhD study is part of wider research project funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research called CANVAS: CANcer SurVeillance And Support. The larger study is exploring the current follow-up strategies for breast and bowel (colorectal) cancer patients, looking at ways of developing and implementing a self-management element for cancer survivors.

This PhD project will broadly involve research around the development and use of an online self-management system specifically for breast patients who have already finished their cancer treatment and its impact measured by a set of patient reported outcome measures (PROMS). This online system will support their own follow-up care by enabling the remote reporting of symptoms from home and the provision of self-management advice based on the responses given. The information reported by the patients will be available for clinicians to reviewing the electronic patient record.

While the overarching topic for the PhD study has been identified and is linked to the CANVAS project, the sucessful candidate will have to develop specific research questions for their own PhD research.

The PhD research will use qualitative and quantitative approaches. A number of strands of work are anticipated:

A systematic review
Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS) data analysis
Qualitative interviews with patients and clinicians

You will support the submissions to Research Ethics Committees, coordinate the data collection and analysis in addition to support patient recruitment processes. Attendance to CANVAS project management meetings and Yorkshire Cancer Research meetings will be required to present reports on the progress.

You will be based in Leeds Institute of Medical Research (LIMR) at St James’s Hospital, in the section of Patient Centred Outcomes Research (PCOR), University of Leeds. The research group, led by Professor Galina Velikova, is an international leader in the implementation of electronic Patient Reported Outcome Measures (ePROMs) routine oncology practice. You will work collaboratively with a number of PCOR staff, breast clinical nurse specialists and other clinicians.
You will receive relevant research methods training within the Leeds group, via the University of Leeds and through external courses where possible.

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree. A master’s degree is desirable but not essential. This project would suit someone with a strong background in health psychology, nursing, health sciences or a related area, and additional experience of conducting research in a cancer-related discipline, for example previous research assistant experience, is highly desirable.

Candidate whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study, the Faculty minimum requirements are:

• British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

How to apply
To apply for this project applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form using the link below and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree certificates and transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) to the Faculty Graduate School at

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Wednesday 15 April 2020.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to

Funding Notes

This studentship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £15,009 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees. This award is funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

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