Find out more about our research programmes...

Research Focus

Most cancer research charities are focused on finding cures which will benefit cancer patients in the future.

Our research focus is very different. The 4 Cancer Group is all about helping people who are going through treatment now. Our focus is on helping families “here and now”.

To achieve this, we provide days out and short breaks for families affected by cancer. This is what we call “respite” – a break from cancer for the whole family. We give families something to look forward to and enable them to create lasting memories.

Consequently, our principal research focus is to quantify the impact of the charity’s various respite programmes. We want to make sure that our beneficiary families derive maximum benefit from the days out and holidays which we arrange for them.

Family Research

In 2017 we signed a far reaching partnership with the University of Brighton to quantify the impact of the charity’s various respite programmes. The research project will be led by the university in partnership with the 4 Cancer Group as part of a jointly funded PhD programme. In October 2017 Oliver Thurlow joined the ‘4 Cancer Group’ as our chief researcher.


The vast majority of the people referred to us for help originated from our extensive network of healthcare professionals from across the UK. This includes NHS professionals and other charities (both regional and national).

Results from our 2017 research indicate a very high level of satisfaction with 99.5% being satisfied with the services that we offer. Of the 635 people we helped in 2017, 98% felt that their experience had a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

A wide range of testimonials can be read from families we have helped since starting the charity in 2001. These can be read in our Family Stories section.

People helped in 2017
Respite days delivered in 2017
Satisfied with their respite day / break
All family requirements were met

Exercise Research

Given that exercise is a major factor in both cancer prevention and recovery, we are also interested in the extent to which an active lifestyle can benefit the people we are trying to help.

As such we have been working on a secondary research study with Loughborough University to better understand the impact of exercise.

Not only do we want our beneficiary families to become more active, we want to encourage our fundraisers to challenge themselves physically too. In this way, the charity hopes to encourage more and more people every year to keep fit and lower their chances of getting various forms of the disease including breast and bowel cancer.

This is why so many of our days out and short breaks encourage people to ‘get active’.  We have funded exercise bikes in hospital gyms for people in recovery to use.  Our sailing days encourage physical involvement and our Centre Parcs breaks encourage family members of all ages to try a range of new and exciting activities.

Altitude Research

Recent medical studies which suggest that people living in alpine environments, i.e. at higher altitudes, have a lower chance of dying from heart disease, certain forms of cancer and tend to live longer than others.

We passionately believe in the therapeutic powers of the alpine environment. To this end, our Ski 4 Cancer subsidiary sponsors alpine respite holidays for  people living with cancer – mostly in France and Austria.

Our short-term objective is to quantify the altitude which is most beneficial to people in recovery and the length of time someone needs to spend at that altitude to derive maximum benefit.

Our long-term objective is to set up a respite centre in the European Alps based on the findings of the first piece of research.  If successful, our plan is to send families on alpine respite breaks all year round.

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