Professor Christina Fotopoulou is a consultant gynaecological oncologist at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, London. She recently took part in the review of our What happens next? and Back here again guides. Here she tells us about her role in the process and why she was so keen to be involved.
With so much information available to access online and in print, it’s important to be able to identify trustworthy sources so you know that what you’re reading is accurate. I was really pleased to be asked to take part in Target Ovarian Cancer’s latest information review project, because – as part of the Information Standard scheme – I know that their information is accurate and reliable.
I was asked to be a peer reviewer for two of Target Ovarian Cancer’s information guides for women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This involves offering my knowledge and professional opinion on the content, tone and evidence used in developing these resources.
My main role in the review process is to ensure that the medical content of the guides is accurate. I do this by checking the references that have been used and making sure they are up-to-date and from reliable sources. I also offer my expert opinion on current clinical practice in surgery for gynaecological cancers. I share knowledge about areas that I know well, and other peer reviewers will comment on their specialist subjects such as chemotherapy or clinical trials. This means that we get a wide range of experts contributing to the final information, so we can be sure that everything in the text is factual and balanced.
I was keen to get involved in this project because it’s very important for clinicians like me to share our experiences and expertise with people who read health information. This is so women can be assured that what they are reading in these guides is accurate, well-researched and can be trusted. We need up-to-date and detailed information to empower us to make decisions about our health. For example, it’s important to me for women to know how crucial they are in shaping the success of advances in cancer treatments – this means fully understanding how research gets conducted and how the results of clinical trials influence clinical reality.
It’s a privilege to be able to share this information with so many women. It’s also evidence of our appreciation and respect for the women who will read the information that we want to give them the best possible knowledge to empower their decision making. It was a great pleasure to be involved with such an important piece of work.