Our multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, researchers, and patients are highly experienced at running complex clinical trials in the field of head and neck cancer.
Professor Hisham Mehanna is the chair of head and neck surgery, and is the Director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE) at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham.
Hisham is a head and neck and thyroid surgeon with clinical interests in recurrence in thyroid and parathyroid surgery. He has a keen interest in clinical and translational research, heading a research team of 20 researchers, and holding over £15million in research grants. His research has changed clinical practice across the world.
His experience of multi-disciplinary research in the field of cancer biology and treatment has made him a strong proponent of multi- and inter- disciplinary research, as the way to provide new insights and approaches to address intractable global challenges.
Professor Mehanna is the idea originator of PETNECK 2. As the joint Chief Investigator of the programme, he is jointly responsible for overall project management and delivery of the programme. He will oversee the definitive randomised control trial, and provide methodological expertise in survival and quality of life outcomes of head and neck cancer (HNC).
Dr Paul Nankivell is Senior Clinical lecturer at the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (INHANSE) and Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham, and a Consultant ENT/Head and Neck surgeon in the department of Otolaryngology at the University Hospital Birmingham.
His clinical interests are in all aspects of head and neck and thyroid cancer, while his academic interests include head and neck premalignancy, as well as translational research into circulating DNA and clinical trials into novel biomarkers in head and neck cancer. He has extensive expertise in bio-banking from multi-centre trials, including over 1500 samples from three trials (PET-NECK, De-ESCALaTE, CompARE). He is currently the translational study lead for the CompARE trial, sits on both the NCRI head and neck clinical studies group and surgery and localised therapies subgroup and is the early cancer theme lead for the Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.
As the joint Chief Investigator of the PETNECK 2 programme, Dr Nankivell oversees the overall delivery and daily oversight of the programme. He is the also lead on the feasibility study and biosample collection during the randomised controlled trial.
Dr Jo Brett is Senior Research Fellow at University of Oxford Brookes. Her current research interests are patient-centred care, quality of life, patient experiences and supportive health care needs in cancer survivorship. She is also interested in cancer prevention, and improving health care for patients with chronic diseases. She also works as a qualitative research advisor for the NIHR Research Design Service and is the lead for the Healthy Ageing & Care Network at Oxford Brookes University
Dr Brett is the lead for the PETNECK 2 intervention development workstream, leading on the development of the information & support resource (app and booklet) for head and neck cancer patients, who will be on patient-initiated follow-up care. She is also leading on developing the nurse training resources for the PETNECK 2 feasibility study and the randomised controlled trial. Dr Brett is a member of the qualitative steering group along with other qualitative research leads, sharing expertise in research methods.
Professor Calvert is Professor of Outcomes Methodology and Director of the Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) Research at University of Birmingham. She has extensive experience in the design and analysis of clinical trials, trials methodology, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, economic evaluation and epidemiology.
Professor Calvert provides expert methodological input regarding the selection and use of patient-reported outcome measures in the randomised controlled trial.
Janine Dretke joined the University of Birmingham to undertake technology assessment reports (TARs) and single technology appraisals (STAs) commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). She has a degree in Biological Sciences, an MSc in Environmental Management and an MSc in Health Technology Assessment. Janine has considerable experience in conducting evidence syntheses, systematic reviews, meta-analyses and health technology assessments (HTA) to inform local and national healthcare decision-making. Research outputs include reports commissioned by NICE and the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme. Janine has an interest in evidence synthesis methodologies as applied to different types of health care questions and study designs (e.g. effectiveness, test accuracy, adverse events, prognostic factors and models). She lectures in study design and the methodology of undertaking evidence syntheses and is a module coordinator of the Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis module (MPH (HTA)).
As part of work stream 2, Janine is undertaking systematic reviews on barriers and facilitators to patient-initiated follow-up, effectiveness of patient-initiated follow-up and prognostic models for predicting recurrence and survival of head and neck cancer.
Professor Joan Duda is a Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She is internationally known for her expertise on motivational processes and determinants of behaviour change, adherence and optimal functioning in sport, exercise, and dance. She is also an experienced mental skills consultant, working with athletes, coaches/instructors, and other performers at all levels. Professor Duda is one of the most cited researchers in her field (> 54, 000 citations). She has been Director of a large multi-national EC-funded project which aimed to promote quality engagement in youth sport (www.empoweringcoaching.co.uk) and has also led a MRC-NPRI funded project on promoting autonomous motivation for physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients, exemplifying her interests in developing, implementing and evaluating theory-based interventions in healthy and clinical populations across the lifespan.
Dr Duda is part of the PETNECK 2 Intervention development group (Work Stream 3b) and brings her expertise on motivational processes and determinants of adherence to the development of the intervention (App and booklet) as well as the Nurse training package.
Tessa Fulton-Lieuw is the InHANSE Team Leader and has over 10 years of experience working in head and neck cancer. She works with numerous internal and external colleagues, collaborators and stakeholders both within the UK and internationally. She currently helps to oversee a portfolio of high quality, competitively funded clinical trials, translational studies and other research projects which aim to advance the field of head and neck cancer and ultimately improve patients’ lives.
Tessa works closely with the PETNECK 2 Chief Investigators and Programme Manager to provide overall support to the programme.
Piers Gaunt is a Principal Biostatistician within the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham, where he has worked for over 10 years as a Biostatistician. He is responsible for the design and analysis of trials within the CRCTU in various cancer types including soft tissue sarcoma, lung, skin and head and neck. He is fully committed to working to improve patient outcomes with an emphasis on survival and quality of life using efficient statistical methodology.
Mr Gaunt is the lead statistician for the PETNECK2 trials and also a co-applicant for the PETNECK2 programme.
Professor Gkoutos holds the chair of Clinical Bioinformatics a joint appointment between the University of Birmingham Medical School and the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. He is a Faculty Affiliate Professor of Clinical Bioinformatics, Berkeley Lab, Associate Director of MRC Health Data Research UK, co-Director of the WCH-Birmingham Research Institute and an Alan Turing Fellow.
Professor Gkoutos's research background lies within the areas of clinical and biomedical informatics, health data science, computational biology, and translational research aiming at the discovery of molecular origins of human disease and the precision medicine developments of novel disease diagnostic and intervention strategies.
Professor Gkoutos is lead for the development of the clinical predictive analytics and oversees the multimodal integration methodology for statistical and machine learning-based approaches for the development of novel predictive models for HNC recurrence and survival prognosis. He also leads on the evaluation of existing and novel predictive models advises other work streams of the effect in cohort selection criteria and parameter choices.
Professor Greaves is a Chartered Health Psychologist and Professor of Psychology Applied to Health at University of Birmingham. He specialises in developing and evaluating interventions to support health behaviour change. His research interests including diabetes prevention and the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. He has helped to develop health behaviour change interventions that are digital, group-based or delivered individually. He has also developed training courses for health care providers to support people to increase physical activity, lose weight, stop smoking and improve self-care of chronic illnesses. Professor Greaves contributed to NICE guidance and European guidelines on preventing type 2 diabetes. His current research includes funded trials of interventions for diabetes prevention (NDPS, ComPoD), self-management of heart disease (REACH-HF, CRISP), weight loss (SkiM, Waste the Waist, ImpulsePal), physical activity (eCOACHER, REACT, ACE), smoking cessation (EARS, TARS), cancer symptom-monitoring (PET-NECK2) and depression (BAcPAc, eMotion).
Professor Greaves is part of the PETNECK 2 Intervention development group (Work Stream 3b) and involved in well as the Nurse training package.
Dr Marcus Jepson is Senior Lecturer in Qualitative Health Science within the QuinteT Research group at the University of Bristol. His work focusses on supporting clinicians with recruitment to RCTs, using a range of qualitative methods. He has a particular methodological interest in the application of Conversation Analysis (CA) to support RCT recruitment and information delivery.
Marcus is the lead on the qualitative evaluation of acceptability of the PETNECK 2 intervention. He oversees patient and clinician interviews and leads on outputs from this work stream. Additionally, he will be leading the Quintet Recruitment Intervention (QRI) to support recruitment into the randomised controlled trial.
Dr. Andreas Karwath is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of Health Data Science at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham. His research is concerned with the application of Machine Learning, AI and Data Science to clinical and medical research questions. Before becoming a senior lecturer in Birmingham, he was a Rutherford Research Fellow with the Midlands Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) and has held posts in the Computer Science institutes at the universities of Mainz and Freiburg, Germany.
Dr. Karwath is co-lead for the development of the clinical predictive analytics and multimodal integration methodology for statistical and machine learning-based approaches for the development of novel predictive models for HNC recurrence and survival prognosis. He also involved in the evaluation of existing and novel predictive models advises other work streams of the effect in cohort selection criteria and parameter choices.
Dr Philip Kiely is the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. He completed his doctorate at Warwick Business School studying the response of the medical profession to processes of organisational change. He has 17 years of experience in health care management including the management of medical and surgical specialties and, more specifically, head and neck cancer services.
Mr Kiely provides expertise and input on clinical service pathways and implementation of the PETNECK2 intervention into NHS routine care pathways.
Dr Ava Lorenc is Senior Research Associate with the QuinteT Research group at the University of Bristol, who use qualitative research to optimise recruitment and informed consent to randomised controlled trials (RCTs). She has an extensive research experience on a wide range of projects including acupuncture, tai chi, autogenic training, nutrition, mindfulness, yoga, obesity and sexual health. Dr Lorenc’s studies have utilised a range of research methods, but her expertise is in qualitative research and systematic reviews
Dr Lorenc’s role in PETNECK 2 is to conduct preliminary qualitative research to explore the views of clinicians, patients and carers about the study and patient-initiated follow-up, to inform the design of the intervention and the randomised controlled trial (RCT). She will also conduct the QuinteT Recruitment Intervention (QRI) to understand the RCT recruitment processes and difficulties, suggest improvements and implement these alongside the study team. The QRI uses a variety of methods including documentary analysis, qualitative interviews and audio-recordings of consultations.
Dr Lauren Matheson is Research Fellow in the Supportive Cancer Care Research group at Oxford Brookes University. Lauren is a qualitative researcher with an academic background in Health Psychology. She has conducted research in the field of Psycho-Oncology for the last 10 years and her research involves studies exploring the psychosocial impact of cancer on patients and caregivers, psychosocial adjustment to cancer in younger adulthood and patients’ experiences of patient-initiated cancer follow-up care.
Dr Matheson is part of the intervention development PETNECK 2 workstream, helping to develop the intervention and support resource (app and booklet) for head and neck cancer patients who will be on patient-initiated follow-up care. She is also assisting with developing the nurse training resources. She will be working on the qualitative evaluation of the feasibility study for PETNECK 2, involving conducting patient, caregiver and clinician interviews.
Dr Saloni Mittal completed her PhD in Genetics from University of Nottingham in 2008 and worked as a post-doctoral researcher before transitioning into research management at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) in 2013. She has over 8 years of experience in managing research within the NHS, supporting clinical academics in grant applications and managing General Surgery Research portfolio at UHB, including a NIHR i4i funded medical device project. She joined the InHANSE team at University of Birmingham, as the Programme Manager for the PETNECK 2 programme in February 2021.
Dr Mittal provides administrative support to the Chief Investigators as well as the lead for Patient Advisory Group (PAG), and manages day to day running of the programme to ensure its smooth delivery to time and target.
Dr Moore is Senior Lecturer in Applied Health Research, who specialises in directing multidisciplinary teams of researchers undertaking systematic reviews, health technology assessments and associated research. He has been and continues to be principal investigator and co-investigator on NIHR-HTA, NIHR-RfPB, Wellcome and other funded research. He has published over 80 research papers (H-index 28) predominantly related to health technology assessment, and over 40 research reports and guidance to healthcare commissioners (e.g. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence/NHS Scotland/NHS local commissioners). He is advisor on health technology assessment for the NIHR West Midlands Research Design Service. He is co-Director of the MSc/Diploma/Certificate in Health Research Methods at the University of Birmingham.
Dr Moore provides expertise in evidence synthesis and systematic review methods, including leading the systematic reviews of the PETNECK 2 programme. He also provides high level methodological input and project management. He will also act as third reviewer to adjudicate decision making, drafting and editing the final manuscripts on the systematic reviews for the PETNECK 2 programme.
Dr Gozde Ozakinci is Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at University of St. Andrews. Her research focusses on self-regulation of emotions and behaviours in the health context and living with long-term conditions. She studies the psychological outcomes relating to living with a long-term condition in the context of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. In the cancer domain, her efforts are focused on fear of cancer recurrence which is an emotional experience reported as an unmet need by people living with and beyond the diagnosis of cancer
Dr Ozakinci leads on the analyses of patient experience and the fear of recurrence for the quantitative part of the randomised controlled trial. She will also contribute to the assessment of the experiences of participants’ fears of recurrence and lead the follow-up qualitative assessment of these fears. This will enable us to determine how fear of cancer recurrence may be experienced by the participants in the different arms of the randomised controlled trial.
Professor Steve Thomas is a maxillofacial, head and neck surgeon. His group has created large, widely used DNA backed clinical cohorts. These studies contribute to genetic and lifestyle analyses and provides a sampling frame for detailed laboratory studies. Head and Neck 5000 which recruited successfully beyond its original target numbers, has been genotyped and is world leading study contributing to a wide range of other major studies of cancer genetics, biomarkers and health care.
Head&Neck 5000 data will be used for the development and validation of a predictive model of head and neck cancer recurrence (Work Stream 6). They also contribute to Work Streams 4 (feasibility) and 5 (clinical trial) to develop and implement the clinical design of the trial, including understanding clinical acceptability and implementation in the clinical environment.
Professor Eila Watson is Professor of Supportive Cancer Care and Co-director of the Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, Health and Social Care Research at Oxford Brookes University. She is a health services researcher and her main research focus is cancer survivorship. She will has over 20 years of research experience, with expertise in a wide range of research methods. She is also a member of the NCRI Living With and Beyond Cancer Group.
Professor Watson provide input particularly to the development of the patient education package and nurse training package, and qualitative elements of the PETNECK2 study.
Professor Mary Wells is the Deputy Director of Nursing (Research) at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and a Professor of Practice in Cancer Nursing at Imperial College London. She has a clinical nursing background in head and neck cancer care and is a member of the NCRI Survivorship and Epidemiology subgroup (Head and Neck cancer) and Macmillan Cancer Support Nursing Advisory group, as well as a clinical advisor to the Throat Cancer Foundation.
Professor Wells’s main research focus is cancer rehabilitation and survivorship with a particular interest in the nursing contribution to cancer care and in improving patient-reported outcomes and experiences, and she has published widely on the impact of head and neck cancer and on interventions to support patients with head and neck cancer.
Professor Wells has methodological expertise in qualitative and complex interventions research, including RCTs and the study of context. She provides methodological and clinical input to the qualitative work streams, in particular the development of the patient education package and Nurse training package. She will also provide input on clinical implementation, and help facilitate collaboration and recruitment in the feasibility study and the randomised controlled trial.
Professor Stuart Winter is Consultant otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust. He is Associate Professor at the University of Oxford. His clinical interests include benign and malignant head and neck pathologies. His research interests include biomarkers studies, clinical trials and he is chief investigator on the GRRAND-F trial looking at physical rehabilitation after neck dissections.
Professor Winter will is involved with Work Streams 4 (feasibility) and 5 (clinical trial) to develop and implement the clinical design of the trial, including understanding clinical acceptability and implementation in the clinical environment.
Dr Jane Wolstenholme is Associate Professor of Health Economics at University of Oxford. She has over 25 years of experience in conducting economic evaluations for health policy makers and exploring methodological issues relating to the design and analysis of economic evaluations. She is also a health economics adviser for the NIHR RDS South Central and the lead health economist for the NIHR Community Healthcare Medtech and In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative, Oxford University.
Dr Wolstenholme leads the economic analysis of PETNECK 2. This includes designing and overseeing data collection for resource use and quality of life information, leading an economic evaluation of PET-CT guided patient-initiated follow-up versus routine clinical follow-up within the randomised controlled trial and extrapolated using an appropriate model.
Dr Wailup Wong is the Clinical Guardian (PET-CT), DH. Chair, PET-CT Clinical Reference Group, DH. Chair, National PET-CT clinical governance board. He is the Past President Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) (Radiology). At St Thomas’ hospital, he took the radiological lead in the team that pioneered computer combination of PET to CT in the head and neck (H&N) and demonstrated the advantage of PET-CT in the assessment of H&N cancer. He on the H&N expert panel for the Royal College of Radiologists’ (RCR) 7th Edition of ‘Making the Best Use of Clinical Radiology Services’; wrote the chapter on imaging in the British Committee for Standards in Haematology “Guidelines for the management of follicular lymphoma” and co-authored the chapters on general techniques and H&N cancer, RCR and National Cancer Intelligence network document on Cancer Imaging Standards.
Dr Wong will advises on all aspects of diagnostic imaging and specifically on PET CT.
Claire Gaunt graduated with a BSc. (Hons) in Biomedical Science and Human Biology from the University of Wolverhampton in 1997. She then worked for Southern Birmingham Health authority before joining the Cancer Research Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) as a Data Manager in 2000.
Since then, Claire has held various trial management posts within the CRCTU, gaining experience in the fields of supportive care and breast cancer clinical trials before being appointed as Adult Late Phase Team Leader (Team B) in 2014. She works closely with local specialist leads in the areas of breast, skin, head and neck cancer and supportive care and supporting external investigators.
Miss Gaunt will oversee the management of the feasibility study and main trial and ensure that milestones and budget are adhered to.
Mrs Yolande Jefferson-Hulme graduated from The University of Sussex 2008 with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Medicine, which implemented a problem based learning syllabus with an emphasis on the causes and treatments of malignancy. In 2012, Yolande graduated from Keele University having received a Distinction in her Biomedical Blood Science MSc. This paved the way for Yolande’s keen interest in Haematological Malignancies. After a few years working in Pathology in the NHS, Yolande joined the CRCTU in 2015 as a Trial Coordinator for the Early phase Haematology Team. In 2017, Yolande was promoted to Senior Trial Coordinator where she now manages the coordination and conduct of 5 Adult Late phase clinical trials and their staff, across several disease areas. She works as the Senior Trial Coordinator for the PETNECK2 clinical study
In January 2022, Evaggelia joined the Cancer Research Clinical Trials Unit Team and she will be the Trial Coordinator of the PETNECK2 Feasibility study.
Evaggelia holds a BSc in Molecular Biology & Genetics from the University of Thrace (2006) and a PhD in Liver Immunology from the University of Birmingham (2010). Evaggelia has more than 11 years of experience in conducting laboratory-based human and clinical research studies, with more than 30 published original papers and review articles in the field of autoimmune liver diseases.
Julia Sissons is a Biostatistician within the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham. She obtained an MSc in Medical Statistics from the University of Leicester prior to joining the CRCTU. She is responsible for the design and analysis of several trials within the CRCTU. Julia will work with Piers Gaunt on statistical analysis of PETNECK2 study data.
The PETNECK 2 Patient Advisory Group (also known as PAG) is made up of 9 members – 8 Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) survivors and 1 carer.
A former patient who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010, Denis Secher has been a member of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE) Patient Advisory Research Group (PRAG) since 2011. He has attended several PRAG events where he listened to research proposals and discussed with researchers, other patients, and carers the merits and pitfalls of the proposed research from a patient perspective. He has also attended the past two Swallows Annual National conferences.
In his personal career, he has people and project management experience up to Managing Director/Board level. He is also a qualified Teacher (B.Ed Hons). Through his own business, Connect Training & Coaching Ltd, he provides consultancy, training and coaching services to a range of individuals and different types of organisations.
Denis is also a keen sportsman, who has represented his Country at international level.
Mr Secher is the lead for PETNECK 2 Patient Advisory Group (PAG) and a member of the Programme Management group (PMG). He ensures that the programme is firmly grounded with patients and patient experience in mind. He facilitates feedback from the PMG into the PAG and vice versa. He has guided the design of the study, consent forms, the qualitative interview schedule, the educational information, and the app and website. He will also help the analysis and interpretation of the programme results.
Pat Rhodes is a former patient who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009, she has been a member of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE) Patient Advisory Research Group (PRAG) since 2011. Pat has attended several PRAG events where she listened to research proposals and discussed with researchers, other patients, and carers the merits and pitfalls of the proposed research from a patient perspective. Pat has been part of other InHANSE research projects at University of Birmingham, mainly assisting with Plain English documents. She has also raised many thousands of pounds for InHANSE to help fund research and specialist equipment.
As a patient, Pat took part in the first PETNECK trial and was with Professor Mehanna to announce the results on the Radio.
On a more personal level. Pat spent many years in a customer facing role in Banking, then went onto Office Management and PA to Executive Directors. Currently Pat is joint Company Director with her husband in their Direct Marketing business, TTMA Ltd. Keen to foster community spirit and fundraise for charity, Pat has been a member of several voluntary groups for many years.
Pat is a member of the PETNECK 2 Patient Advisory Group (PAG) and a member of the Programme Management group (PMG) and attends the Intervention Development Group meetings with Denis Secher to assist with passing information and feedback to and from the PAG. She has studied and commented on the data for the Consent Forms, App and Website from a patient point of view and will also help with the analysis and interpretation of the programme results.
Malcolm had a laryngectomy in 2002 due to cancer of the larynx. He was able to return to his work as a Physics teacher by using an electrolarynx to speak.
In 2007 he took early retirement and since then has devoted his time to supporting patients facing a similar challenge. He has been President of the National Association of Laryngectomy Clubs (NALC) since 2013. NALC has affiliated groups around the UK and provides information resources to hospitals and support to their patients.
He has been a member of many national committees including DAHNO, the head and neck cancer audit, the NICE Quality Standards Advisory Committee for head and neck cancer and the National Cancer Research Institute’s head and neck group.
With his scientific background, Malcolm has been keen to provide a patient perspective to head and neck cancer research. He was a Steering Committee member for Professor Mehanna’s De-Escalate study and is the patient representative for the Compare study. He is also contributing to other studies focussed on lung cancer and lymphoma.
Pete is a former patient who was diagnosed with a base of tongue squamous-cell carcinoma in 2015. Further, following a PET CT scan he was also diagnosed with a right renal tumor which was treated with a partial nephrectomy in late 2015 following his base of tongue treatment.
Prior to diagnoses Pete had worked as a DJ on the Pirate station Radio London, followed by Radio Luxembourg and then, in September 1967, with his own afternoon show on Radio 1 for two years from day one. This was followed by two years as a presenter with Thames television’s Magpie, again from day one. He then formed his own corporate production company which went on to be one of the most successful in the UK.
During treatment Pete spent time before or after his radiotherapy sessions at Maggie’s Oxford. In early 2016, having attended Maggie’s Where Now course, Pete suggested they should run a course for head and neck cancer patients. They suggested that, with his background, he should do it. Rather, than reinvent the wheel, he joined forces with Heads2gether and set about expanding its reach from the City Hospital Campus in Nottingham to include patients from the Charing Cross Hospital, the Churchill Hospital, the Great Western Hospital, the Royal Marsden in London and Sutton, as well and the University Hospital Southampton. He also acts as a Patients Representative on several NHS bodies.
As well as his involvement with Heads2gether Pete currently presents two shows a week on the community radio station 4Legs Radio which can be found at 4legsradio.org.uk
Joanna was first diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2015, with recurrences in 2017 and 2019. The last required extensive surgery and follow up chemo and radiotherapies. Her positive attitude to life, helped by the support groups run by Heads2gether and The Swallows, enabled her to deal with this difficult situation. With two years having gone by since the last recurrence Joanna is pleased to be able to use her experiences as a patient to contribute to the PAG.
Joanna received a performing arts education which culminated in achieving a degree in music. She is a fully qualified teacher and has worked in both secondary and primary education, finishing her career as deputy headteacher in an award-winning school.
No longer able to play the oboe due to surgery, Joanna continues to play the piano and is brushing up her violin playing that has been dormant for 45 years!
Andrew was thrown into the role of caregiver when his wife, Joanna, was diagnosed with cancer on her tongue. This resulted in surgery in 2015 and 2017 and then a major operation following a recurrence in 2019. Throughout the process, and rehabilitation, Andrew reflected upon his experiences as a caregiver and how these could be improved for future caregivers. He has been, together with Joanna, a regular attendee at meetings of both The Swallows and Head2gether. He is a key contributor to the developing Swallows Caregiver section, sitting on the steering group.
Having originally qualified with a degree relating to Town Planning, Andrew moved into teaching and is now a retired headteacher. Throughout his career he focused upon ways to work cooperatively and to learn from each other. A keen geographer, International work was a core component of this and as such he worked with the British Council from 2001 to develop links with schools in China and India as well as across Europe. His school was multiple award winning for its work in this area.
Andrew, whilst not a patient, has experienced a Head and Neck cancer journey at first hand and aims to bring the perspective of the caregiver to the PAG.
In 2005, Ralph Goodson was running his own training and development company when he was diagnosed with squamous-cell cancer of the tonsil and metastases to his lymph nodes. A year later he became a founder member of the Heads2gether head and neck cancer support group.
In 2008 he was elected Chair. He took the opportunity to undergo training as a supporter with Macmillan and attained the Cancer Support Certificate qualification. He has since attended numerous development courses including many on the psychology of support including Approaches to Pain Management, Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Problem Solving.
In 2010 Ralph moved to the East Midlands and expanded Heads2gether services to hospitals in the Nottingham University Hospital Trust. Later he was invited to expand the service to include Kingsmill Hospital, Mansfield. He is an official volunteer for both Trusts.
He has now worked as a Supporter now for fifteen years, in that time supporting hundreds of clients.
He has been a Macmillan Trainer and qualified to deliver their HOPE course.
He has acted as Patient Representative on a number of clinical trials.
Beaty Rubens is a radio producer, specialising in programmes about the arts, culture, women and children. After 35 years in the BBC Radio Documentaries Unit, she recently decided to go freelance but continues to write and produce programmes. In 2017, she was diagnosed with Cancer of the Tonsil and treated at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. This is her first involvement with a Patient Advisory Group and she has particularly relished the challenge of drawing together her professional communication skills with her personal, emotional response to cancer, in the hope of helping other patients and their families weather the same experience.