University of Sussex Media Release.
. Return to Sussex for Leading Cancer Research Campaign Professor

7th February 2001
For immediate release

One of Britain's leading cancer psychologists, who is dedicated to helping cancer patients, has joined the University of Sussex.

Professor Lesley Fallowfield, Director of The Cancer Research Campaign's Psychosocial Group, arrived this month with her 11-strong team to continue their pioneering work into the needs of the person behind the disease.

"It will be a wonderful opportunity to expand the research areas in which I am interested," says Professor Fallowfield, who was previously based at University College London. "I have been given excellent facilities. I will also be looking to recruit staff from the vast pool of qualified people already living in Brighton."

Professor Fallowfield trained at Guy's Hospital, London, and was a nurse at the Royal Sussex County Hospital before gaining a BSc and a DPhil in experimental psychology from Sussex. She has specialised in the psychological aspects of cancer for the past 17 years, thanks to Campaign funding totalling £3 million.

Professor Fallowfield's recent work has identified the need for cancer doctors to improve their communications skills.

"Communication is an important but often neglected factor that influences the quality of cancer care," says Professor Fallowfield. "Doctors and nurses usually spend more time talking to patients than they spend on any single medical procedure. But few receive adequate communication training, often to the detriment of patients."

She has run Cancer Research Campaign training courses using actors from The Bill, Casualty, Peak Practice and The Archers posing as patients to help doctors gain the vital skills that can so influence a patient's treatment and quality of life.

She also works closely with healthy women at high risk of breast cancer that are offered the controversial double mastectomy operation to reduce their chance of getting the disease. She recently published a paper in the British Medical Journal (Issue: January 13, 2001) which highlighted the counselling and information needs of these women.

Professor Fallowfield lectured in psychology across the world and trains doctors from countries including Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Italy. She is the author of several books, including The Quality of Life: The Missing Measurement in Health Care and The Experience of Breast Cancer, and has made several award-winning training videos.

Professor Anthony Moore, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex, said: "We are delighted to welcome back Professor Fallowfield. She is an established figure in the growing field of psychological medicine and she and her team will further consolidate the university's position in medically-related research."

Dr Jean King, Director of Education Programmes at The Cancer Research Campaign, which funds Prof Fallowfieldıs work says: "Professor Fallowfield is one of The Cancer Research Campaignıs leading lights and thanks to her work hundreds of cancer patients are being given more emotional support and improved quality of life."

 

For further information, please contact Jacqui Bealing, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, J.A.Bealing@sussex.ac.uk OR the Cancer Research Campaign press office on 020 7487 3768 or out-of-hours on 0468 992 023.

Notes for Editors:

*   Professor Fallowfield has recently been awarded a grant of £1.4 million from the MRC to look at the psychosocial aspects of ovarian cancer screening.
*   Dr Hazel Beveridge and Dr Valerie Jenkins, two other members of Professor Fallowfield's team, also hold doctorates in experimental psychology from Sussex.

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