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Psycho-oncologist receives prestigious award

BSMS > About BSMS > News > 2019 > Psycho-oncologist receives prestigious award

Psycho-oncologist receives prestigious award

A cancer psychologist at BSMS has been recognised for her leading role in advancing the science and care of breast cancer patients.

Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield was awarded the second ESO Umberto Veronesi Memorial Award at this year's St Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference, which took place in Vienna from 20-23 March.

Dame Lesley is Professor of Psycho-oncology at BSMS and Director of the Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer (SHORE-C) group, which is based on the University of Sussex campus. She is internationally renowned for her work on putting patients’ quality of life at the heart of cancer research.

Commenting on the award - established to honour the memory of the co-founder of the European School of Oncology (ESO) - Dame Lesley said: "I am absolutely thrilled and immensely proud that the Awards Committee have nominated me, a psycho-oncologist rather than a surgeon, for this prestigious award.

“I knew Prof Veronesi well and he was always very kind and encouraging to me in the early stages of my career.

“I am sure that the title of my talk, 'How heretical thoughts and challenging orthodoxy improves breast cancer care', which epitomised his own private and professional life, would make him smile.” 

Professor Veronesi, who died in 2016 aged 90, contributed enormously to research showing that all women with breast cancer did not necessarily need to have a mastectomy. 

Dame Lesley's wide research interests include the measurement of quality of life in clinical trials of cancer therapy and the training of communication skills for health-care professionals in cancer. She has published over 360 papers, many book chapters and three text books. She lectures and runs training workshops throughout the world in psychosocial oncology, quality-of-life assessment and communication skills.