Service Evaluation of ‘Living Well with the Impact of Cancer’ Courses. Report published October 2013.


In 2010 a long-term, in-depth service evaluation of Penny Brohn UK’s ‘Living Well with the Impact of Cancer’ courses was set up by Dr Helen Seers at Penny Brohn UK and Dr Marie Polley at the University of Westminster. The findings of the evaluation were presented by Dr Polley at the Society For Integrative Oncology international conference in Vancouver in October 2013. 

Full details of the evaluation and a copy of the final report can be found here.

In 2016, we followed up people who participated in this evaluation to see how they were getting on five years later. This allowed us to look at the long-term impact of the Living Well course. You can read a summary of the findings here.


MYCaW (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing)
These publications look at the experiences of people on residential courses at our national centre.

The MYCaW (“Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing”) questionnaire, devised by Dr. Charlotte Paterson, is a Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) which measures changes in levels of concerns and wellbeing.

Penny Brohn UK has used this questionnaire for over a decade, and also helped to develop it.  An academic paper (Seers et al. 2009) published results from our “Approach” courses, in partnership with another cancer support centre. We found that peoples’ concerns and wellbeing were improved at a clinically significant level, showing that the Approach course is beneficial for people with cancer. We also found that people most benefited from spending time with other course members, receiving complementary therapies and support and understanding from services staff.

In a separate publication (Polley et al. 2007) we generated guidelines and categories for analysing the open ended questions about peoples’ experiences on the MYCaW questionnaire. You can download a copy of these guidelines here.

More recently, we have published a validation paper for MYCaW (Jolliffe et al. 2015).


Conference presentations
Our evaluation work has recently been presented at a number of high profile national and international conferences:

  • On March 11th 2016, we presented a poster at the prestigious Christie conference ‘The Changing Prospects for Cancer’. The poster presented some early but exciting findings looking at the impact of the Living Well Course on patient activation.
  • Our work on the development of MYCaW for capturing the concerns of supporters was presented at the 12th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) in Boston, Massachusetts in November 2015.
  • Our work on the validation of MYCaW and the longitudinal evaluation of the Living Well course were both presented at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool in November 2015.
  • Our evaluation of Penny Brohn UK services running at Genesis Care centres was presented at the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) annual conference in Copenhagen in June 2015.
  • Our evaluation looking at the experiences of supporters who attend Penny Brohn UK was presented at CAMSTRAND in London in June 1015.
  • Our work on the validation of MYCaW was presented at the 11th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) in Houston, Texas in October 2014.

To find out more about our published work, please see our selected publications.


National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI) Living Well Scoping Report March 2010

In 2009/10 Dr Helen Seers was the Macmillan Research Officer based at Penny Brohn UK. She took part a scoping exercise in the Active and Advanced Disease workstream for the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI). The task was to scope out the “living well” services for people with cancer available nationally as well as provide an evidence review of their effectiveness.

Copies of the report are available via the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative or click here to download.