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Involving patients and the public in cancer research can help to guide the direction of medical research in a way that benefits those that need it most.

At Oxford Cancer, we are committed to supporting Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research; we recognise the benefits of placing the needs and experiences of those affected by cancer at the heart of decision-making.

To facilitate this, we are building an inclusive community of patient and public representatives who have been impacted by cancer in some way and who work with scientists at the University to help improve, shape and guide research.

Earlier this month, we sat down with a few members of this group to chat about why they decided to get involved in research and what they enjoy most about PPI at Oxford.

In the first interview of the series, we spoke to Sally Jeans, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2017. Sally has worked with Oxford Cancer as a PPI contributor since 2018.


Why did you decide to get involved in research?

I had to give up work due to the side effects of chemotherapy but still wanted to use my brain and be involved with other people. PPI has more than compensated for not being able to go to work.

What do you enjoy most about being a PPI member?

Being part of a team and knowing that your contributions could have a positive impact on patient experience.

What have you found surprising about being part of research as PPI member?

That eminent researchers and scientists listen seriously to patients and are very interested in our views. They treat us as equals and experts in our own way.

What do you wish you knew before you joined?

How rewarding it was going to be and how much I have learned. I have no scientific background so thought I would not be able to understand very much. I still do get imposter syndrome, but increasing experience about knowing what you can and can't contribute to helps.

I did not know that being a PPI member would allow me to…?

Be part of a team of medical experts and have my opinion listened to and respected. I did not know that I would see real practical changes as a result of discussions that I was part of.

 Why would you reccomend PPI?

It is rewarding, fulfilling and gives you a sense of purpose. I feel that I am perhaps giving something back to the medical world that is helping me so much.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be involved in PPI activities?

Give it a go! If you don't enjoy it, you can stop. If you enjoy it you can take on more and become involved with an increasingly important part of improving the lives of patients and carers.


Read more about Sally on her profile.

To find out more about Patient and Public Involvement at Oxford Cancer, or to get involved, visit our PPI page