IPOS Fear of Cancer Recurrence Special Interest Group (FORwards)

This special interest group brings together and represents the interests of IPOS members with a special interest in Fear of Cancer Recurrence.


Below is a list of the volunteers sitting on the committee:

Marije van der Lee (Chair 2021 – 2023) – Netherlands

Since 2007 Marije van der Lee works as Head of the scientific research department and is part of the management team of the Helen Dowling Institute and provides patient care as registered Health psychologist. In this period her department published 97 international peer-reviewed articles. She built her own research line in clinical psycho-oncology that focuses on the effect of (e-) interventions and understanding how interventions work. She developed a national therapy evaluation system and two online therapy programs which were successfully implemented. She aims at personalizing clinical psycho-oncology interventions in the next five years and making them available for all cancer Dutch patients at risk for developing complex mental health disorders. In addition to educating healthcare workers worldwide in basic cognitive behavioral therapy for specific psycho-oncology problems and recognizing cancer patients at risk.

Lauren Healthcote (Deputy Chair 2021-2023) – United States 

Dr. Heathcote is a research scientist studying biopsychosocial outcomes in childhood and AYA cancer survivors. Her current research program seeks to understand mechanisms of symptom burden (including chronic pain) and fear of cancer recurrence in young survivors, and then translating these findings into mechanistically targeted behavioral interventions to address these areas of unmet clinical need. She is an Experimental Psychologist by training (PhD from the University of Oxford) and is currently a senior research fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secretary: Jose Custers

Jose Custers is post-doctoral researcher at the department of Medical Psychology at RadboudumcDr. Custers obtained the Research Master Behavioral Science degree at the Radboud University Nijmegen in 2011, and completed her PhD on Fear of Cancer Recurrence in 2016. She has won the Radboud Da Vinci Challenge 2014-2015.  In the past 10 years, her FCR research activities followed the route map from conceptualization and assessment of FCR to the development of a FCR intervention and its implementation in routine clinical care. Her current research focuses on fear of progression in advanced cancer patients receiving ongoing systemic treatments.

Early Career Rep: Brooke Russell

Brooke Russell is a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Her research interests are broadly related to psychosocial outcomes experienced by child and adolescent survivors of cancer including sleep disturbance, fatigue, unmet needs, pain, quality of life, and symptom burden. Brooke’s doctoral work aims to develop one of the first self-report tools to measure fear of cancer recurrence experienced by children and adolescents who have completed treatment for cancer. She is committed to engaging in patient-oriented research and ensuring that the self-identified needs of children and families navigating pediatric cancer are being addressed. As an early career researcher, she has published 11 peer-reviewed papers to date in journals such as Cancer, Pediatric Blood & Cancer, and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Brooke has presented her work widely at various international conferences and has secured over $260,000 (CAD) in scholarships to support her graduate work. Clinically, Brooke works with children, adolescents, and families who are navigating health-related diagnoses and challenges. She has previously served as the national Student Liaison for the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and looks forward to continued involvement with the psycho-oncology community at the international level with IPOS. 

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