The cancer theme crosses all Divisions within the Faculty, covering the full spectrum of cancer research, from the molecular events that underpin its development to the management of care of those terminally ill with the disease. We work closely with the public and other end users to improve the prevention and treatment of cancer. For example, the International Observatory on End of Life Care has close relationships with local health and social care groups within the region while our research on the biology of cancer has been strongly supported by local charity North West Cancer Research, who fund a Research Fellowship in addition to other projects.

Research areas

Particular research areas within the cancer theme include:

  • Environmental/spatial epidemiology of cancer
  • Genome stability
  • Molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis
  • Supportive and end of life care for those with cancer

Research successes

Notable research successes include:

  • Demonstration of an epidemiological link between paternal occupational social class and various childhood cancers
  • The publication of several papers that collectively shed new light on the mechanisms involved in maintaining genome stability
  • Our work on the biological effects of long wavelength ultraviolet (UV) radiation has informed the re-evaluation of the health risks of UV radiation and how these should be communicated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection respectively
  • Researchers in the IOELC have authored resource-stratified guidelines for policy-makers on the supportive, palliative and end-of-life care of cancer patients in Asia

Research grants

Current major research grants include:

  • ATOME Access to Opioid Medication in Europe 2009-2014 led by Lukas Radbruch (Germany), Willem Scholten (WHO) and Sheila Payne which aims to increase access to opioid in 12 resource poor countries in Central and Eastern Europe by working with national governments and national associations; the IOELC are undertaking the research that underpins this project ( The project also involves Tom Lynch, Anthony Greenwood and Saskia Junger.
  • EURO-IMPACT 2010-2014 led by Luc Deliens (Belgium), Marie Curie Actions. This project involves Sheila Payne, Sarah Brearley, Martin Loucka and Evie Papavasiliou (PhD students) and Ebun Abarshi (post doc)
  • InSup-C Patient centred pathways in advanced cancer and chronic disease 2012-2016 led by Jeroen Hasselaar (The Netherlands), a four year, on-going pan European study examining best practice in integrated palliative care models in advanced cancer and chronic disease. A key component of the study is the patient and carer perspective on the services they use. The study aims to enhance professional practice, improve service organisation at the point of delivery, and influence health and social policy in palliative and end of life care across Europe. This project involves Sheila Payne, Nancy Preston, Anthony Greenwood and Sean Hughes
  • ACTION – Cluster Randomised Control Trial to test an advance care planning intervention 2013-2017 to improve quality of life for patients with lung and colorectal cancer. This project involves Sheila Payne, Nancy Preston, Lesley Dunleavy and Anthony Greenwood
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care Both sides of the fence: using action research to improve end of life care for prisoners, 2013-2015. Turner M, Payne S, Froggatt K, Fletcher A, Scott G, Gibson R

Other information

  • Anne Grinyer's book Palliative & End of Life Care for Children & Young People: Home, Hospice, Hospital, published by Blackwell in 2012, won an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award.
  • Nancy Preston is developing an abdominal binder for malignant ascites (PI) from a Lancaster University Impact Award


Researchers working in this area, together with a short description of their research interests, are listed below.

  • Dr Sarah Allinson: Eukaryotic DNA Repair; Effects of UV Radiation on Human Skin Cells; Heavy Metal Carcinogenesis
  • Dr Sarah Brearley: complex interventions in the management of cancer symptoms, Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and cancer survivors
  • Dr Nikki Copeland: Regulation of DNA Replication
  • Professor Peter J Diggle: Longitudinal and spatial statistical methodology; spatial epidemiology of infectious and non-communicable disease
  • Dr Katherine Froggatt: palliative care in care homes, including older people with cancer
  • Dr Anne Grinyer: palliative and end of life care focused primarily on cancer in teenagers and young adults
  • Dr Thomas Keegan: Epidemiology of non-communicable diseases, environmental and occupational epidemiology
  • Dr Howard Lindsay: (Lancaster Medical School) Cell Signalling Pathways Related to DNA Replication and DNA Damage
  • Dr Edward Parkin: ADAM Proteases; Prostate Cancer
  • Professor Sheila Payne: palliative care and older people and their family carers, including dying at home
  • Dr Nancy Preston: end of life care, systematic reviews of PROMS, clinical aspects of palliative care, ascites management, research methodologies in EoL
  • Dr Clive Price: Cell Cycle Control; Cytokinesis
  • Dr Rachael Rigby: Colorectal Cancer; Intestinal Epithelial Cell Homeostasis
  • Dr Elaine Taylor: (Lancaster Medical School) Eukaryotic DNA Repair; DNA Replication; Cell Division; Post-translational Modification
  • Professor Carol Thomas: disability studies and the sociology of health and illness
  • Dr Mary Turner: end of life care, family carers experiences, palliative care in prisons
  • Dr Catherine Walshe: palliative care, with a focus on service provision in home settings, and the management of physical and psychological symptoms
  • Dr Karen Wright: Colorectal Cancer; Cannabinoids


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