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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences
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Professor Claire Foster PhD, MSc, BSc, CPsychol

Professor of Psychosocial Oncology, Director of Macmillan Survivorship Research Group, Cancer and Life Limiting Conditions Research Group Lead

Professor Claire Foster's photo

Claire Foster is Professor of Psychosocial Oncology, Director of the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group and leads the Cancer and Life Limiting Conditions Care Research Group in Health Sciences, University of Southampton.

Claire's research programme focuses on understanding the impact of cancer and its treatment on everyday lives and how equipped people feel to manage this; understanding the impact of a family history of cancer on people's lives; and developing and testing digital resources to support people affected by cancer to manage some of the consequences of treatment and make complex decisions about treatment or genetic testing. This is achieved through large prospective cohort studies, qualitative studies, development and testing of complex interventions, evaluation of service transformation. We work with people affected by cancer and life limiting conditions as research partners as well as clinical, academic and policy leaders to support the design, conduct and dissemination of the research to maximise impact.

I am passionate about understanding how people are affected by cancer and its treatment, developing resources to support them to make difficult decisions and manage some of the problems cancer and its treatment can bring, and ensuring our research makes a real difference to people’s lives

Her research programme is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, Movember, National Institute for Health Research, Health Education England, NHS England, Marie Curie and Motor Neurone Disease Association. Recently completed projects have been funded by Breast Cancer Now, NIHR Research for Patient Benefit, and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Within Health Sciences Claire is REF 2021 Impact Champion. She supervises a number of PhD and Masters students from Health Sciences, Psychology and Medicine.

Claire is a member of:

British Psychosocial Oncology Society Executive Committee

National Cancer Research Institute Living with and beyond cancer – Methodology Workstream

Bowel Cancer UK Scientific Advisory Board 

Editorial Board Psycho-Oncology

Useful Downloads

  • Understanding problems faced as a consequence of cancer and its treatment
  • Understanding self-management of cancer related problems
  • Developing resources to support self-management such as RESTORE to support people living with cancer related fatigue
  • Evaluating the impact of service transformation informed by our research
  • Psychosocial implications of genetic testing for cancer predisposition and developing and testing decision support tools
  • Application of quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Working closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including people affected by cancer as research partners, national and international leaders, in the development, design, interpretation and dissemination of research to maximise impact

Current projects

  • Macmillan HORIZONS programme (CI): prospective cohorts of over 3,000 cancer patients from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond to assess impact of cancer and treatment on daily lives
  • Movember Global Registry (Co-PI): UK lead gathering clinical and patient reported outcome data for men with early stage prostate cancer
  • Macmillan CREW cohort (CI): prospective cohort of colorectal cancer patients to map restoration of health and well-being NIHR CLASP Programme (Co-app): Life Affirming Survivorship support in Primary Care
  • Cancer Research UK Catalyst Award – CanGene CanVar (Co-I): leading work package 4 to develop patient facing resources to support decision making regarding genetic testing and risk management
  • NIHR CLASP Programme Grant (Co-I): Cancer - Life Affirming Survivorship support in Primary care
    Health Education England (PI Evaluation): Cancer Nursing Across Boundaries
  • NHS England (PI Evaluation): Improving access to Clinical Nurse Specialists and Key Workers
  • Macmillan ENABLE study (Co-I): Understanding the importance of self-management support in people living with advanced cancer
  • Marie Curie and MND Association DiAMoND study (Co-I): Development and pilot testing of a web-based decision aid for people with motor neurone disease considering a gastrostomy feeding tube


Research group

Complex Healthcare Processes

Affiliate research group

Cancer Survivorship and End of Life Care

Research project(s)

Breast Cancer Choices

Incidental findings (IFs) from genetic tests: exploring the ethical issues and implications for practice

This research fellowship aims to gain an empirical and ethical insight into the experiences and attitudes of healthcare users and professionals towards incidental findings from genetic testing, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Development, implementation and evaluation of the True NTH Supported Self Management and Follow Up Care Programme

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer amongst men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Survival rates for prostate cancer are high. Men who have completed treatment for prostate cancer will typically attend regular, face-to-face reviews in the hospital clinic for up to 10 years. There is a need for alternative models of follow- up care: prostate cancer services are under increasing pressure due to numbers of men and a shortage of specialist nursing staff, and men report high levels of continuing unmet need in relation to their prostate cancer.

Understanding and perceptions of mindfulness-based interventions and development of an adapted mindfulness intervention for breast cancer patients

Living with breast cancer can cause considerable suffering, and for many the fear of recurrence of the cancer can cause anxiety and depression that can last for a long time after the initial diagnosis.  Mindfulness-based meditation can be helpful and involves learning a set of techniques that enable people to focus or live in the moment.  The standard mindfulness course consists of 1 session a week for 8 weeks lasting between 1½ - 2½ hours, with an additional one day 6 hour retreat, with 45 minutes homework per day.  This can be difficult for breast cancer patients to commit to if they are working, have children and if they are undergoing treatment.  In this study we plan to find out from patients how we can adapt the course to suit them, and then design and develop it in partnership with patients and leading experts in the field of mindfulness.

Feasibility of establishing a cohort of lung cancer patients treated with curative intent [CIn] radiotherapy to gather patient reported outcomes

Self Management VOICED (Valued Outcomes of Importance: ConsEnsus and Disparity)

Feasibility of establishing a cohort of lung cancer patients treated with curative intent to gather patient reported outcomes

Development and pilot study of an online interactive surgical decision aid for young women newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer

This pilot study will use age specific outcome data to formulate a decision aid designed specifically for women with young onset breast cancer.

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Book Chapters




  • Psychosocial impact of cancer on patients and their families
  • Psychosocial implications of genetic testing for breast/ovarian cancer predisposition
  • Research methods
  • Working collaboratively with service users as research partners in research

Claire supervises a number of PhD and Masters level students from Health Sciences, Psychology and Medicine.

Professor Claire Foster
Health Sciences Student Office University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 67/4061

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