Consultant Clinical Oncologist
0161 918 7197
0161 446 3265
MA, MB BS, MRCP, FRCR, PhD
Adult and paediatric neuro-oncology; stereotactic radiotherapy; proton therapy
Consultant Clinical Oncologist treating Central Nervous System (brain and spinal) and skull base tumours in children, teenage and young adult (TYA) patients and adults.
Dr Whitfield treats patients with conventional (photon or X-ray) radiotherapy, including Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), as well as with Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) as part of NHS England’s national service in the PBT centre which opened at The Christie in December 2018.
Dr Whitfield is Clinical Oncology lead for paediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumours at The Christie. In treating children, she is part of a multidisciplinary team that includes three Clinical Oncology Consultants at The Christie, surgical and paediatric oncology colleagues at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, as well as nursing, anaesthetics and other staff. For proton treatment, children are referred from across the UK to the service at The Christie. Dr Whitfield is the radiotherapy lead for paediatric and TYA CNS trials.
On the adult side, Dr Whitfield is one of five Clinical Oncologist members of the Adult CNS, skull base and SRS teams. This involves mainly conventional (photon) radiotherapy, using state of the art techniques, and a minority of PBT for patients referred from across the UK to the national PBT service. Part of her adult clinical work is at Salford Royal Hospital, the UK’s largest neurosurgical centre. At Salford she works particularly with the skull base surgical team, participating in a joint clinic, and with the SRS service based in the Christie at Salford radiotherapy satellite.
At a national level, Dr Whitfield is a member of the Proton Overseas Programme Paediatric, TYA and Adult Clinical Reference panels which have referred over 1200 patients abroad for PBT. She is one of three Clinical Oncologist members of the Ependymoma Advisory Group, advising on UK and European cases.
Dr Whitfield graduated from St Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry in the University of London in 1998 and was proxime accessit to the University of London gold medal. Her postgraduate training was initially in London (two years), and then in East Anglia, primarily at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, but also at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and Essex County Hospital, Colchester. Dr Whitfield started as a Specialist Registrar in Clinical Oncology in February 2002, and gained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) in 2005, after which she undertook a PhD in Manchester in Image Guided Radiotherapy (2006-2010) before completing her clinical training in Cambridge and taking up a consultant appointment at The Christie in August 2011.
Dr Whitfield joined The Christie just as the Christie at Salford satellite radiotherapy satellite had opened in summer 2011 with facilities for SRS. She technically lead the development of the intracranial SRS service, which treated the first patient with brain metastases in December 2011, followed in 2012 by vestibular schwannomas and meningiomas. Dr Whitfield has continued to provide technical leadership for this service and was a part of the successful bid for national recommissioning of the service in 2016. She has provided technical advice to several other NHS trusts setting up new SRS services.
Dr Whitfield has led for the CNS group on radiotherapy improvements, for example the introduction of VMAT (a form of IMRT) which delivers advanced radiotherapy in shorter treatment times. She led the team for Adults with CNS and skull base tumours preparing for the national PBT service, and also led on PBT planning for paediatric CNS tumours, engaging with national and international colleagues to ensure practice at The Christie is truly world class.
Nationally, Dr Whitfield has led development of e-learning resources for PBT, helped develop Skull base service Quality Indicators for peer review, co-authored radiotherapy guidance for the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, contributed significantly to Royal College of Radiologists radiotherapy guidelines, and to NHS consultations on SRS for spinal and intracranial CNS tumours. She is a frequent invited speaker on improving radiotherapy for CNS tumours and has recently contributed to two textbooks.
Dr Whitfield is part of the Radiotherapy Related Research Group at The Christie. Her research in CNS tumours is focused on outcomes of treatment, and clinical trials exploiting advanced radiotherapy techniques including SRS, Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and Proton Beam Therapy. She is the radiotherapy lead for paediatric and TYA CNS trials.
At a national level, Dr Whitfield is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Brain Clinical Studies Group Meningioma and Metastases subgroup and of the NCRI Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad).