Caring Christie nurse sets up cancer support group

Press release posted 06 February 2017

A new support group for kidney cancer patients and their families in Greater Manchester has been set up by a nurse from The Christie.

Susanna Smith, a clinical research nurse from Northern Moor, Wythenshawe, said she wanted to establish the group to give extra help to renal patients. 

The Kidney Cancer Support Group aims to provide practical and emotional support to members. The first meeting was held recently at Brooklands Church of the Nazarene, Brooklands, Sale.

Susanna, who has worked at The Christie, Manchester’s specialist cancer hospital, for seven years, said: “Through my work with renal patients I realised that they need additional emotional and practical support that extends beyond my clinical remit, so I decided to form this self-help group.

“Our initial meeting gave patients and their relatives the opportunity to discuss a range of issues relevant to living with kidney cancer, such as complementary therapies or finances.”

The initiative came ahead of this week’s Kidney Cancer Awareness Week (6-12 February), a joint venture between Kidney Cancer UK and Kidney Cancer Scotland.

Elaine Blowers, lead research nurse and operational director at The Christie NIHR Clinical Research Facility, said: “This voluntary initiative by Susanna demonstrates how our clinical research nurses are prepared to go above and beyond their roles to support patients.

“Susanna’s work shows tremendous commitment to ensuring patients get all-round support in managing their cancer and its impact on their lives.”

Susanna, who has a Masters in Health Promotion, joined the renal research team in 2015, after working in the lymphoma research team.

She added: “Nursing patients on clinical trials for new kidney cancer drugs is fascinating and rewarding. Clinical trials have the capability to deliver medical benefits for individual patients and, of course, improve treatment options.”

Susanna described her role as a clinical research nurse at a Patient Champion Programme Clinical Trials Workshop, hosted by The Christie on 2 February 2017. The workshop was run by the Kidney Cancer Support Network, a patient-led charity, to improve recruitment and retention in kidney cancer trials.  

In the last three years, The Christie has recruited more than 100 patients with kidney cancer onto clinical trials.

The Kidney Cancer Support Group will continue to meet in the evening (7-8.30pm) on a bi-monthly basis. The next meeting will be on 9 March, 2017. To find out more about the group contact

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission which referred to it as ‘exceptional’ and ‘a leader in its field’. The CQC commended the Trust not only for its effectiveness and care but also for its work in shaping the future of cancer care, noting the reach and influence of its clinical research projects.