Greater Manchester

Cancer Awards 2024


GM Cancer conference 24 logo

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Greater Manchester Cancer Awards 2024.

The awards are designed to honour outstanding work to improve lives and treatment for people with cancer in Greater Manchester, and we have had some extremely high quality entries.  A panel of judges – including patient representatives and staff working in cancer from across the city – whittled down around 70 entries to a final shortlist.

You can find out more about all the finalists below, and see which entries were winners and highly commended. The winners were announced at a ceremony on 14th May 2024 at the Hilton Deansgate, as part of the Greater Manchester Cancer Conference 2024.

Outstanding Care Award

The Greater Manchester CT Colonography Recovery Plan

The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

The Greater Manchester CT Colonography Recovery Plan is a system-wide collaboration that has substantially improved waiting times for CT Colonography (CTC). CTC is a first-line diagnostic test for patients with suspected bowel cancer, predominantly used in patients who are unsuitable for a colonoscopy. Long waits for CTC are a significant cause of delay to colorectal cancer pathways, but also contribute to health inequalities as the patient cohort is typically older and more frail. This collaboration (led jointly by GM Cancer Alliance and the GM Imaging Network) includes radiographers, radiologists, STT nurses and pharmacy representatives from all GM Trusts, and included crucial collaboration with patient representatives. Together the group has delivered impressive improvements to waiting times, through the careful consideration and standardisation of many elements of the CTC pathway. The work will ensure that the right patients access CTC, in a timely manner, and are well-informed about what the procedure will entail.

The Christie Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology Centre

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

The Christie Colorectal & Peritoneal Oncology Centre’s (CPOC) Peritoneal Tumour Service (PTS) is a highly specialised team offering Greater Manchester’s (GM) patients world-leading care on their doorstep. Comprising of clinical nurse specialists, ward nurses, surgical practitioners, oncologists, surgeons, anaesthetists, radiologists, physiotherapists, dieticians, and managers all focused on the management of peritoneal tumours, the team has treated >1000 patients from GM over the past two decades. The specialised surgery, chemotherapy, &new interventional radiology procedures developed by us have produced some of the best results in the world (quality of life &survival) when compared to other centres. Patients are at our heart, and we learn from them through their regular participation in patient days, research and NHS advisory boards, fundraising, and national mainstream media coverage. We’re a GM team constantly looking to innovate, improve, and grow as, serving as an exemplar to the rest of the UK & shores beyond.


Tameside Macmillan Advanced Cancer Nurse Specialist Team

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Tameside’s Advanced Cancer service was set up in 2022 to deliver a specialised cancer nursing service to support patients newly diagnosed with advanced cancers. It is the only service of its kind in Greater Manchester that provides enhanced supportive care to this patient group. The needs of individuals with advanced cancer and their families are often reported as unmet and require an individualised approach to improving each person’s experience. The Advanced Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist roles aim to support the delivery of personalised care and improved patient experience through ongoing holistic needs assessment and supportive care planning. They improve access to and the quality of health and wellbeing information and support for patients who sit under the remit of this role, ensuring equity of care. The team lead on the evaluation and improvement of patient experience in the context of complex cancer care.

Our judges said: “We felt that this entry provided outstanding care for cancer patients through a holistic approach. The team identified an unmet need and worked collaboratively with the local stakeholders to develop this service.”

Commitment to Equality Award

RAPID-RT – Co-designing an inclusive study to collect and utilise real-world data to evaluate patient outcomes after changes in standard-of-care radiotherapy practice

The University of Manchester; The Christie NHS Foundation Trust; Vocal (Manchester University Foundation Trust); NICE

The key priority of our multidisciplinary RAPID-RT team, composed of clinicians, researchers, and patient representatives, is ensuring inclusivity in research. The team is leading the development and clinical implementation of an innovative alternative to conventional clinical trials, where many patient communities are often underrepresented (e.g. those from deprived backgrounds). Our ‘rapid-learning methodology uses real-world data, the information collected during patients’ normal care, to evaluate the impact on patient outcomes of changes made to cancer care pathways. There are no exclusion criteria, so we learn from all patients as an embedded part of routine practice, meaning the patients in RAPID-RT accurately reflect the population treated in Greater Manchester. Our research focuses on an area of unmet need, patients receiving curative-intent radiotherapy for lung cancer. Since April 2023, over 370 patients have been treated and recruited to this inclusive study with only one patient opting out, demonstrating the benefit of our approach.

video goes here

Talk Cancer

Greater Mancehster Cancer Alliance and Cancer Research UK

Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance are collaborating with Cancer Research UK to provide their Talk Cancer training. The cancer awareness training is available in all 10 localities, targeting the workforce both formal and informal and community leaders who work and engage with cancer health inequality groups and who are positioned to address cancer topics within their communities. The training helps those who attend to:

  • Understand the key messages around cancer awareness.
  • Talk to people about how they could reduce their risk of getting cancer.
  • Help people understand the importance of spotting cancer early and the screening programmes available.
  • Appreciate and address the fears and barriers faced by people when talking about cancer.
  • Have effective, supportive conversations about cancer and health. •          Understand the impact health inequalities can have on cancer outcomes. •   Encourage people to take positive action for their health, use local services and see their doctor with any concerns.

Stockport Community Cancer Engagement Project

Stockport Council

As part of Greater Manchester’s ambition to ensure cancers are diagnosed at stage 1 and 1 by 2028, Stockport Council’s Public Health Team secured funding from GM Cancer to address health inequalities in cancer. Using local intelligence, we identified the areas that needed particular focus were ethnic minorities and areas of socio-economic deprivation. Screening rates are significantly lower that the population average and cancer outcomes worse.   The most effective way decided to address these inequalities was to employ two new Community Cancer Project Workers for six months, from October 2023 to April 2024. The aims of the project are:    To encourage the early detection of cancer directly with communities and trusted voices within them   To bring information back into the system, sharing findings of what works, barriers faced and community priorities   To leave a legacy after the 6-month project which the existing programme can build on.

Our judges said: “This project embodies inclusivity and reducing health inequalities. The community engagement focuses on trusting the voices within them to bring information back to the system which was clearly evidenced with data. The key aim of the project is to turn the “big C” into the “small c” ie change perceptions from death, fear and hair loss to “hope, treatment and survival”.

Creative Confidence Cancer Conversations

Creative Confidence CIC

Creative Confidence is a community interest company that delivers mental health workshops that inspire and engage, building confidence through creativity. We will use performing arts as tool to educate and empower individuals from lower social economic groups to be more informed and educated about the early warning signs of cancer and healthcare pathways in the area individuals the capacity and capability to help manage their health and get the most out of the existing healthcare system.  We will use the ‘Talk Cancer’ training session to tailor our Performance Poetry and Makaton Sing and Sign sessions to ensure we can use them to:

  • Reduce the risk of cancer
  • Spot cancer early
  • Raise awareness of the national cancer screening programmes

We pride ourselves on always thinking outside of the box!

Greater Manchester Collaboration

Patients Choice

Greater Manchester Targeted Lung Health Check Programme

Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Care Alliance, Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

The Greater Manchester Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) Programme has brought together teams across multiple NHS organisations (MFT, NCA, Christie, GM Cancer) to deliver a high quality, equitable and nationally leading lung cancer screening service for the population of GM. It is a true example of collaborative working across NHS boundaries with the primary focus being to deliver an optimal patient-centred service. We have developed a risk stratified approach to the roll out of lung cancer screening with those Primary Care Networks (PCNs) with higher lung cancer risk being screened first. Those individuals with positive screening scans are seen in one of 2 diagnostic hubs and their diagnostics are all performed in the most efficient way possible in a maximum of 3 visits. This revolutionary approach to the diagnostic pathway has reduced time from scan to treatment decision dramatically with less travelling, fewer hospital visits and better patient experience.

Bolton Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service

Strategic Partners : Macmillan, Bolton Hospice, Bolton Pac, GMICB. Key Stakeholders: Bolton Council & Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Bolton MCISS is a great example of effective integrated partnership working.  Macmillan Cancer Support, Bolton Hospice, Bolton People affected By Cancer Group (Bolton PAC) and NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board, work together to deliver a Cancer Information & Support Service for the people of Bolton.   The service has arisen from People affected by cancer who campaigned for an information & support service for many years. In 2014 Bolton Hospice agreed to host and manage the service and a partnership was formed to take the project forward.  The service also works with Bolton Council who employ the Macmillan Benefits Adviser and is closely linked to Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the best care possible to cancer patients in Bolton.  The service is now approaching it 9th year and wants to celebrate the great things that happen when we work together!


The Cancer Support Worker Pilot

Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

To support the NHS Long-Term plan ambition of Personalised Care for all cancer patients, greater links are needed between primary care / community services and secondary care; a concept that is very much supported by patients. To address this, Greater Manchester (GM) Cancer piloted nine Cancer Care Coordinators (CCC) within nine Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in collaboration with Health Education England (HEE), GM Workforce Collaborative and Macmillan Cancer Support. The CCC role significantly increased the number of Cancer Care Reviews (CCRs) completed, reduced variation in CCR quality, improved primary care workforce satisfaction and achieved high patient satisfaction. In some PCNs where further data was collected, there is evidence to support a reduction in patient-initiated GP appointments, and increased screening uptake numbers and early diagnosis. This workforce model demonstrates clear value and effectiveness, which has seen wider adoption Regionally and Nationally, led by the innovation within Greater Manchester.

Our judges said: “The judges valued collaboration across primary and secondary care, patients, VCSE and multiple localities and beyond Greater Manchester, which our chosen winner demonstrated. The winner also scored highly in establishing a platform for further collaboration.”

Team Science Award


Manchester’s PMP Accelerator Team

University of Manchester, The Christie NHS FT, Welcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix, Manchester Cancer Research Centre, Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research

Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP) is a condition arising from a rare tumour of the appendix that fills the abdomen with a thick mucinous fluid. It is a very rare (<1/million population) ‘orphan condition’ for which no new treatments have been available over the past 30 years. GM is home to a centre at The Christie Hospital that treats PMP, and recognising this, a team of surgeons, oncologists, pathologist, cell biologists, genetics experts, and pharmacologists from the University of Manchester decided to apply for a Cancer Research UK grant to study this rare disease alongside similar specialists in Italy and Spain. In 2019 they were granted £3.5 million (of which £1.2 million came to Manchester) to collect samples from this tumour, study its genes, grow tumours in the lab, and identify new treatments. 5 years on, 400 patient samples have been collected from across 3 countries, 200 of which are from Manchester.

Our judges said: “Wider collaboration / team project working and clear evidence of cancer research and future plans for this very rare cancer, and the patients affected by this.”

BRAINatomy – optimizing cognition in childhood brain cancer survivors.

The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Radiotherapy is a high-precision cancer treatment using radiation beams. It is crucial for treating many paediatric brain tumours. However, despite improvements in the targeting of the radiation, survivors can still experience lifelong side-effects, such as poor memory or hormonal disruption, affecting their ability to work, and overall quality-of-life. The multi-disciplinary BRAINatomy team focuses on understanding the impact of radiation on growing brains and developing approaches to minimise side effects. They have identified radiation-sensitive regions of the brain associated with cognition and hormone production, and are developing an atlas of brain regions to be avoided during radiotherapy. In addition, they are designing a new clinical study to test whether early treatment of hormone deficiencies would help children treated with radiotherapy. The goal of BRAINatomy is to enable “smarter” and gentler radiation treatments, that avoid the most sensitive areas of the brain and, ultimately, to optimise cognition in childhood brain cancer survivors.

Manchester CUP Research Group

The University of Manchester, CRUK Manchester Institute Cancer Biomarker Centre, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) is a rare and under-researched cancer but the 5th leading cause of cancer death in the UK. The Manchester CUP Research Group, formed in 2017, comprises a network of clinicians, researchers, nurses and trainees across different CUP projects all with one aim: to improve the diagnosis and treatments for patients with CUP. The team’s work has significantly increased the research opportunities available for patients diagnosed with CUP across the GM region. Highlights include;

  1. The Manchester CUP biobank: a tissue and blood bank for current and future research initiatives.
  2. Significant grant award funding (>£1.5M) to lead national trials enabling blood and tissue molecular profiling for patients with CUP and creation of a CUP-dedicated Molecular Tumour Board.
  3. In collaboration with the Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre developed a liquid biopsy with the potential to improve diagnosis and treatment selection for patients with CUP

Educational Impact Award

The Genomics Education Event

The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

Cancer Genomics is vital to a patient’s cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment, and so the GM Cancer Personalised Care Programme has committed to embedding genomic testing into oncology pathways across Greater Manchester. By embedding testing, we will ensure all eligible patients are accessing testing to bring about a timely cancer diagnosis through predictive testing and improved clinical outcomes through the use of targeted treatments. However, historically, there has been limited awareness and understanding of genomics and the benefits to patients across various workforce groups and among our patients. Therefore, to begin to bridge this gap, the Genomics Education Event was held by the Personalised Care team in collaboration with the GM Cancer Academy, in October 2023. The invite was extended to all workforce groups, and the GM Cancer Voices community, with 150 delegates attending. The event was very successful and well received.


Cancer & Us: Community Conversations

Vocal, Healthy Me Healthy Communities, LGBT Foundation, Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, CRUK National Biomarker Centre

With an estimated 1 in 2 people developing cancer in their lifetime, but it’s a topic that can be hard to talk about. Cancer &Us: Community Conversations was partnership programme that brought together local communities and researchers together to talk about cancer, prevention and research. Informal and open conversations in community settings enabled people to explore topics that are important to them and raise awareness of how everyone can have a say in cancer research in Greater Manchester.   People took part in co-created activities including cooking and creative workshops to explore topics about cancer that they care about with researchers who focus on preventing and detecting cancer early and personalising treatments. During these activities, people created videos, a mini-magazine and supported the creation of a public campaign that reached in Greater Manchester and digitally.   Cancer &Us was a year-long collaboration between Healthy Me, Healthy Communities, the LGBT Foundation, the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and Vocal.

Our judges said: “This was a simple idea with the potential for great impact. Through grassroots engagement, the project showed it was breaking down barriers through hands on activities, facilitating communication and two way education. Good evidence of cross partner working was also shown.”

Greater Manchester Cancer Academy – workforce and education programme

The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

Part of the Workforce and Education Programme at GM Cancer Alliance, GM Cancer Academy has established itself as the hive for cancer education, reducing inequity around access to essential training needs. The Academy is a mechanism support lifelong learning across all care settings, ensuring our workforce are equipped to deliver best patient care.  Since securing additional support from the Greater Manchester Workforce Collaborative, the Academy has seen exponential growth to 19 speciality-specific Academies, all driven by workforce need.  The Academy delivers blended learning opportunities and features an ePortfolio housing the only digitised version of the NHS England ‘ACCEND’ framework.  It also directs to local and national education activities. Collaborating with diverse stakeholders across care settings, the team ensures  quality assured education that explores innovative delivery methods, implementing cutting-edge solutions for an enriched learning experience.  The programme has totalled over 80,000 CPD hours accumulated by Academy users.

Innovation Award


The Greater Manchester Minimum Cancer Dataset (MinCAN)

The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

The Greater Manchester Minimum Cancer Dataset (MinCAN) represents a significant innovation in cancer pathway data management. It establishes a daily flow of information from the entire Greater Manchester Cancer system into a centralized repository. This approach enables the creation of comprehensive reports on all patients undergoing cancer treatment within the region. Compared to existing national data flows, MinCAN offers two key advantages: increased timeliness and enhanced detail. Daily updates ensure that reports reflect the most recent picture, providing stakeholders with accurate and up-to-date views of the system’s performance. Additionally, the dataset gathers a wider range of data points, encompassing pathway information and details on investigations and patient outcomes. This rich and comprehensive data empowers various stakeholders, including clinicians, managers and regulators, to gain valuable insight into the functioning of the GM cancer system. Empowered by this data, they can improve cancer care efficiency, effectiveness, and quality across the region.

Our judges said: “An incredible amount of work! Innovation of real time data making real impact on services, and clear evidence of future plans to explore more data and sustain improvements. There was also clear evidence of benefits to patients and systems. The entry described a brilliant team with a clear dedication to continuing to push boundaries and lead on data improvements.”

Measuring patient outcomes from cancer across Greater Manchester

The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

Historically, it has been extremely challenging for the GM system to understand patient outcomes from cancer, due to lack of system-wide consensus on key outcomes to measure and appropriate data to support the work. GM currently depends on limited information from NHS England, e.g. cancer stage and survival. With a 2-3-year time lag, this has limited value for rapid feedback on the effects of improvement projects.  The Cancer Clinical Outcomes and Data group was established to address these challenges. The group draws on the diverse expertise of its members from the Cancer Alliance and ICB, including Programme Directors, Pathway, Prehab4Cancer and Early Diagnosis Clinical Leads, patient representation, Business Intelligence Leads, The Christie Clinical Outcomes and Data Unit and experts in public health. GM is breaking new ground as the first cancer alliance to take charge of understanding its own cancer outcomes, which will underpin targeted improvement work in the future.

Greater Manchester Chest X-Ray Artificial Intelligence Pilot Project

The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance

The Greater Manchester (GM) Chest X-Ray (CXR) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Pilot Project represents the largest scale pilot implementation and service evaluation of diagnostic imaging AI in the UK to date. The pilot ran between July 2022 and August 2023, which included 6 months of project initiation and 6 months of in-service clinical evaluation. Over 300,000 CXRs were processed by AI during this period and clinical evaluation took place in 6 of the 7 main Acute Hospital Trusts in Manchester. The experience gained from this project will further knowledge and understanding of the benefits, risks, and barriers to adoption of AI in routine clinical practice. The AI product provides clinical decision support in reading CXR. The AI is run within minutes of the CXR being acquired in radiology and can be used to help prioritise cases for reporting as well as flagging potential abnormalities to radiologists and radiographers reporting the examination.

Early Career Researcher Award


Alicia-Marie Conway

CRUK National Biomarker Centre, University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Alicia Marie Conway is an Academic Clinical Lecturer and Medical Oncology trainee working across the University of Manchester, the Cancer Research UK Cancer Biomarker Centre and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust. She is an outstanding academic clinical lecturer motivated to improve outcomes for patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP), a disease of unmet need with a poor prognosis. She has developed a blood-based test to help define where a cancer started in patients diagnosed with CUP. Her long-term career aspirations are to be clinician scientist and consultant medical oncologist with research focus on biomarker discovery in difficult-to-diagnose cancers, including CUP. I have no doubt she will be successful as she is extremely hardworking with a down to earth, caring and compassionate attitude, always putting patients at the heart of what she does.

Our judges said:  “Dr Alicia-Marie Conway was nominated by two individuals, which clearly demonstrates her strong academic achievement, patient, public involvement and engagement and evidence of research impact.

There was clear evidence of how Alicia’s research is addressing CUP and Biliary Tract Cancers, and addressing health inequalities.

The nominations provided and academic and personal insight into Alicia’s work and the judges were impressed by the detail provided.”

Katy Ellis

Manchester NHS Foundation Trust – Breast Unit

I am a Nurse consultant In Breast care working at Manchester University Foundation Trust. I began my career as a theatre nurse which led to a role as a surgical care practitioner. I became a clinical nurse specialist in breast care and led a team of clinical nurse specialists for almost 10 years. Having undertook an MSc in advanced clinical practice, I became an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and in 2021 became a Nurse consultant. I have a clinical academic role and am currently on the PhD pathway. I am passionate about the efficiency and effectiveness of services and in particular the impact that nurses can have on the delivery of patient care. I have more recently been awarded the role of Nurse Trustee for the National Association of Breast Surgery (ABS).

View some images from the Greater Manchester Cancer Awards 2022