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:

Chair: José Custers – The Netherlands

José Custers is a behavioral scientist and works as assistant professor at the department of Medical Psychology at Radboudumc, the Netherlands. In the past 10 years, her FCR research activities followed the route from conceptualization and assessment of FCR to the development of an FCR intervention and its implementation into routine clinical care. Her current research focuses on fear of progression in advanced cancer patients receiving ongoing systemic treatments.

Christine Maheu (Deputy Chair 2023-2025) – Canada

Dr. Christine Maheu, associate professor at the Ingram School of Nursing at McGill University and senior cancer program researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, oversees an extensive program of research initiatives in cancer survivorship. A leader in fear of cancer recurrence, return to work after cancer, transition post-cancer follow-up from tertiary to primary healthcare, and coping mechanisms, among other crucial aspects of post-cancer issues.

In 2016, Dr. Maheu and Maureen Parkinson, a vocational rehabilitation counsellor at BC Cancer, joined forces as co-directors to create the Cancer and Work website, a bilingual platform in French and English. This reliable resource garners more than one thousand visits per week and is acknowledged internationally for its expertise in employment matters following cancer. The website functions as the platform for the pioneering "iCanWork Intervention," a pilot program that assists employers, healthcare providers, and cancer patients in surmounting obstacles associated with return to work after cancer and sustaining employment.

Dr. Maheu has received awards for excellence in the field of nursing research. Co-creator of FORT with University of Ottawa colleague Dr. Sophie Lebel, they have empirically tested a group psychotherapy approach for the management of fear of cancer recurrence. Leading national surveys, Dr. Maheu assessed transition care needs for cancer patients from the end of treatment to three years post-diagnosis, and self-employed experience with the effects of cancer on work are among the significant contributions of Dr. Maheu's career.

Secretary: Cristiane Decat Bergerot – Brazil

Cristiane Bergerot, Ph.D., is the head of Supportive Care at Grupo Oncoclínicas, Brazil. Currently, she is the Director of IPOS (2021-2025). She completed a 3 year research fellowship in the Department of Medical Oncology at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California, USA. She has been working with cancer patients for almost 20 years as a clinician and as a researcher. She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in journals including first-author publications in Nature MedicineEuropean Urology, CancerJournal of Immunotherapy for CancerBritish Journal of Urology International and Psychooncology. She has received four merit awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conquer Cancer Foundation and was selected for the prestigious SWOG Young Investigator Course. She is past recipient of the Barry Hoeven Memorial Kidney Cancer Research Grant from Kure It in 2020, the Global Oncology Young Investigator Award (GOYIA) from the Conquer Cancer Foundation in 2021, and the Psychosocial Focus Award from the Kidney Cancer Association in 2021. Currently, she is serving as the quality-of-life Chair of an ongoing clinical trial.

Early-career: Lauren Rudy – Canada

Lauren Rudy is a current doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She possesses a Master’s degree in Educational and Counselling Psychology from McGill University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honour’s in Psychology from Mount Allison University. Her research work focuses heavily on cancer survivorship and includes the standardization a single-item measure for assessing fear of recurrence, qualitative needs-assessments of cancer survivors living in rural and remote communities, the evaluation of an exercise program for breast cancer survivor, and, presently, explorations into the presence of attentional biases in fear of cancer recurrence. She also takes a clinical interest in the needs and experiences of individuals living with cancer, chronic pain, and other illnesses, and has completed clinical internships in hospitals and clinics that serve these populations. Her clinical approach with these patients is informed by what she has learned about evidence-based interventions for cancer survivorship and fear of recurrence, due in large part to the strong mentorship she has received from past and present supervisors Dr. Christine Maheu and Dr. Ryan Hamilton.



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