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Primary supervisor: Dr Dimitrios Koutoukidis

Secondary supervisor: Prof Susan Jebb


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females in the UK with 55,000 patients diagnosed annually. Surgery is the standard treatment for most patients but leads to significant post-operative complications. Concomitant obesity affects a quarter of patients and independently increases the risk of post-operative complications.

Through improvements in physical fitness, inflammation, and glucose regulation, intentional weight loss before surgery as a means of prehabilitation may reduce the risk of complications. However, most people need formal support to achieve significant weight loss in the short (20-30 day) window between diagnosis and surgery. We have previously adapted an intervention using low-energy, high-protein, and nutritionally replete total diet replacement programme with behavioural support (TDR). We are currently testing it prior to other types of cancer surgery with promising results.

The objective of this DPhil will be to

-       Conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of obesity and morbidity following breast cancer surgery.

-       Run a randomised clinical trial to test the feasibility of a weight loss intervention before breast cancer surgery

-       Conduct a qualitative study interviewing patients and clinicians on their experience of the trial and intervention

This project will suit an enthusiastic researcher with some relevant experience. This may include experience in qualitative research, running/managing clinical trials, and/or quantitative data analysis. The candidate will have strong verbal and written communication skills, with evidence of presentations and contributions to publications. Clinicians, nurses, dietitians, and allied health care professionals are particularly encouraged to apply.

Supervisory Team