Witness biographies from the citizens’ jury

Understanding breast cancer

Professor Malcolm Reed – Professor of Surgical Oncology and Head of the Department of Oncology, University of Sheffield

Professor Reed spoke about the types and stages of breast cancer, surgical management and treatment by stage.  He also spoke about the NHS Breast Screening Programme and why there has been a review.   He has a long-standing research interest in breast cancer and is an investigator in a number of large national clinical trials.  He is a member of the Government Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening, a member of the Audit Committee of the Association of Breast Surgeons and was President of the British Association of Surgical Oncologists from 2007 to 2009.

Dr Alison Jones – Consultant Medical Oncologist and Senior Lecturer, Royal Free and University College London Medical School

Dr Jones spoke about non-surgical treatment of breast cancer and decision-making about treatment options.  She has specialised in the care of breast cancer patients over the last 10 years, and has been very active in clinical trials research during that time.  Dr Jones has been a member of Cancer Research UK Trials Advisory Committee, and was Vice Chair of the committee for 5 years.  She is Immediate Past Chair of the Association of Cancer Physicians and has chaired the Joint Council of Clinical Oncology UK.

Understanding breast screening

Ms Patsy Whelehan – Senior Research Radiographer (Breast imaging), Division of Cancer Research, Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee

Ms Whelehan gave an overview of how the breast screening programme works.  She is a member of the Department of Health Advisory Committee for Breast Cancer Screening and of the NHS Breast Screening Programme’s radiography quality assurance group, and also a trustee of Symposium Mammographicum, a charity supporting breast imaging education.  Ms Whelehan has lectured extensively to radiographers and other health care professionals on various aspects of mammography and breast imaging.

Dr Mike Michell – Consultant Radiologist, King’s College Hospital, Director, South East London Breast Screening Programme and King’s National Breast Screening Training Centre

Dr Michell spoke about the problems related to screening, including overdiagnosis, ductal carcinoma in situ, false positives, false negatives and psychological distress.  He is a national expert in screening and diagnosis of breast disease and leads a team of seven consultant radiologists who are responsible for screening and further assessment for over 50,000 women per year.  Dr Michell has served on the Department of Health Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening, and is currently a member of the Department of Health Improving Outcomes: a Strategy for Cancer Committee.

Understanding Patient Experiences

Dr Alison Chapple – Medical Sociologist, Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Dr Chapple is a medical sociologist. Since joining the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford in 2000, Alison has been part of the Health Experiences Research Group, which conducts the research for the award winning website Healthtalkonline (www.healthtalkonline.org), which is run by the DIPEx Charity.  Alison has conducted interviews for the website, including sections on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, the PSA test for prostate cancer and screening for bowel cancer.  She has published articles in academic journals on all of these subjects.

You can find out more about Dr Chapple’s presentation and see the films she showed here.

Understanding the Evidence from the Marmot Review

Professor John Dewar – Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Honorary Professor, Ninewells Hospital

Professor John Dewar spoke about the findings from the Independent Breast Screening Review.  He served on the expert group for the review, led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot.   He worked as a Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Honorary Professor at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School for 25 years, until his retirement from clinical work earlier this year.  His main clinical interests have been the management of patients with breast cancer and, in particular, clinical trials.

Communicating the Benefits and Harms of Breast Screening
Professor Angela Coulter – Director of Global Initiatives at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, Boston, and Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Public Health, University of Oxford

Professor Coulter spoke about communicating complex health issues, and options for communicating harms and benefits using words.  She is a health policy analyst and researcher who specialises in patient and public involvement in healthcare.  A social scientist by training, Angela has a doctorate in health services research from the University of London.  Professor Coulter has published more than 250 research papers and reports, as well as books including The Autonomous Patient, The European Patient of the Future (with Helen Magee), winner of the Baxter prize, The Global Challenge of Healthcare Rationing (with Chris Ham) and Hospital Referrals (with Martin Roland).

Professor David Spiegelhalter – Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, and Professor of Biostatistics, University of Cambridge

Professor Spiegelhalter introduced  the challenges of communicating harms, benefits and uncertainty using pictures. He also outlined options for communicating quantitative information about benefits and harms.  He leads a small team which attempts to improve the way in which the quantitative aspects of risk and uncertainty are discussed in society.  He works closely with the Millennium Mathematics Project in trying to bring risk and uncertainty into education.  He presented the BBC4 documentary ‘Tails you Win: the Science of Chance”, and in 2006 was awarded an OBE for services to medical statistics.

Mr Roger Felton – Managing Director of Felton Communication Ltd

Mr Felton spoke about designing the leaflet to communicate about breast screening.  He runs communications agency, Felton Communications, which works on creative communications.   Over the last decade Felton Communications has focussed on the not-for-profit sector and worked with organisations including the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, Living Street’s Walk to School, Lambeth and Southwark Housing and Terrence Higgins Trust. The agency has won numerous design effectiveness and creative awards as well as a BMA Patient Information Award every year since 2003.