TCRN CAP Members

TCRN Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP) Members

Ruth Lilian, OAM

Ruth has been a carer of family members and friends with cancer and is very familiar with hospital care and cancer programs and treatment. She has an interest in new cancer advances, treatment programs, lifestyle benefits and advocating through a number of community organisations with which she is involved in  and would like to work with community in educating people to understand the translation of research into practice.

Ruth has a professional background in the management of medical conferencing and the administration of a number of specialist medical societies including the Australian Society for Medical Research where she spent 17 years working with some of Australia’s most well respected medical and scientific researchers, as well as a period of 15 years managing all specialty areas of cancer.


Gillian Begbie

Gillian is a recently retired school principal, with experience in the education of both children and adults. She is keen to lend her well-developed oral and written communication skills to assist researchers to deliver reports, funding applications and community talks utilising plain language and user-friendly terminology. Whilst nursing a close friend through breast cancer, Gillian spent considerable time attending medical appointments and treatment sessions, and learnt a great deal about cancer care pathways.

Gillian was actively involved in breast cancer advocacy activities during her friend’s last years of life, and has since undertaken formal consumer training with Cancer Australia and the Cancer Council NSW (Consumer Review of Research training, 2012). Gillian currently sits on the Cancer Council NSW grant review consumer panel and, through Cancer Voices Australia, is partnering with a breast cancer researcher to assist with the production of research materials for lay audiences.

Jeff Cuff

CAC Member Jeff Cuff
Whilst caring for his wife through late stage of colorectal cancer, Jeff spent a great deal of time researching for new treatments and research for his wife and this leads him to be involved in cancer research projects and consumer advocacy activities. His strong interest in cancer research further led him to found the Shirley Cuff Cancer Research Foundation.
His professional background is in the medical field and his last role includes managing a business involved in pharmaceutical, biological and bioprocessing. He has participated in the consumer trainings and events through Cancer Council Australia and Cancer Council NSW where he learnt about translational cancer research. He is a member of Consumer Advisory Panel Walter Eliza Hall Institute; a Consumer Advisory Panel of Westmead Hospital; and Australian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AIGTG); and a Steering committee member Organoid project colorectal cancer.



Phil Mendoza-Jones

Phil has survived Colon Cancer and 7 months of precautionary chemotherapy. After completing chemotherapy, Phil worked with Professor Graham Newstead in TV, radio and magazines to create Colon Cancer awareness.
Phil has mentored chemotherapy patients and is involved with CIPN research. He is interested in working with all cancer types, but has a particular interest in male forms of cancer.
His professional background is in the marketing and advertising field. He started his own consultancy in 1993.


Kathryn Leaney

CAC Member Kathryn Leaney
Following a diagnosis of breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ) in 2012 and the subsequent treatment she received (mainly surgery) in 2012- 2013, Kathryn wanted to contribute to a world where others could be spared the angst she went through with the surgery.  And she didn’t wait around too long. Right after her surgeries in 2013, Kathryn completed the Cancer Council NSW Consumer and Advocacy training. Since then she has been actively involved in consumer activities including involvement in several research projects from universities and research institutes and has served on consumer review panels for both CCNSW (2013 and 2014) and National Breast Cancer Foundation (2014). 
She has a particular interest in early diagnosis – in particular the development of less invasive ways to detect some cancer types (for example, breast cancer).  She is also interested in influencing the way clinicians deal with patients when they are first diagnosed – to help patients and their families work their way through the maze of information they confront at a difficult time. She wants to see a world where cancer is better understood, and doctors and researchers treat patients as people.
Kathryn, as a professional facilitator and trainer working in the area of adult learning and development, brings her knowledge of the way adults learn and her expertise in developing the most effective ways to present information to a wide range of audiences. 

TCRN CAC Member Peter Lewis 

Peter has been involved in serving his community for more than 50 years in various roles including as a councillor in the Sutherland Shire and 18 years as a director of  Civic Disability Service.

Peter was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 which was treated successfully. Since then Peter has expanded his community involvement into the heath care sector by serving for 5 years in the Sutherland Hospital Consumer Advisory Group (CAG) including 3 years as the Chair.

Peter’s professional background is as a long serving member of the aquaculture industry.

Sue McCullough

As a survivor of lung cancer, Sue has first-hand experience of the cancer journey and is passionate about improving support services available for people with lung cancer. Sue is a founding member of the San Cancer Support Centre Face to Face Lung Cancer Support and Information Group, established in 2004, and has been an active consumer representative for lung cancer since early 2005. She is a member of the Cancer Institute NSW Oncology Group for Lung Cancer, a Cancer Council Connect lung cancer peer support volunteer, and was the consumer representative for the Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Stakeholders Meeting with the national Pharmaceutical Benefits and Medical Services Advisory Committees in 2012.
Sue has undertaken numerous training activities with Cancer Council Connect, including peer support induction, core communication - active listening, enhanced communication skills and palliative care. She completed an advocacy training workshop with the Cancer Council NSW in 2008 and attended a Cancer Institute NSW consumer and community representative training day in 2009. Sue has a keen interest in seeing improvements in the early diagnosis of cancer, and in cancer drug delivery and patient resilience. She is a strong advocate for increasing support for the provision of Cancer Nurse Coordinators working across all cancer types.

Gill Stannard

Gill is an ovarian cancer survivor and would like to improve outcomes for all women. Her life has also been impacted by the late diagnosis and death of her brother from brain cancer and her father's experience of lung cancer.
She has an interest in survivorship including the impact of emotional trauma caused by a cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the ongoing physical and mental wellbeing of survivors.
Gill has a passion for medical research, and holds degrees in Political Science and Health Science. She has worked as a naturopath for over 27 years, with a focus on evidence based CAM. She also has wide ranging media experience including broadcasting TV, film and social media, and mentors health practitioners.

Sue Suchy

 TCRN CAC Member Sue Suchy
Sue is a survivor of three separate incidences of oral cancer so is an experienced recipient of a range of cancer care services.
Sue has a strong belief in a holistic approach to cancer treatment, respecting all the physical and emotional needs of the patient and not concentrating solely on the cancer itself. Sue spent many years of her professional life working in OHS, industrial relations and conciliation and was involved in workplace health promotion.

She also has a science degree and spent her early career in a research lab, a background which provides valuable insight into cancer research. Membership of the TCRN CAC is Sue’s first consumer role relating to cancer.

David Synnott

David is a community speaker for the Cancer Council NSW and the Council on the Ageing (COTA) NSW.  He has a particular interest in skin, breast and prostate cancers, stemming from personal experience with friends and family with melanoma and prostate cancer, and caring for his wife through both breast and bowel cancer. David is especially committed to improving the early detection of cancers, and increasing community knowledge of the role of lifestyle factors in cancer development.

His experience as a lay member on a number of University Human Research Ethics Committees has promoted his desire for further involvement in an advisory capacity for cancer research. He has undertaken Consumer Review of Research training with the Cancer Council NSW and advocacy training with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Susan Taylor

CAC Member Susan Taylor
Susan was a carer of her father who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma-t-cell nonspecific in 2012. Susan’s father was a research scientist and committed to excellent research practices in Australia which led her to cancer research after he passed away.
She is interested in working with all cancer types, but she has a particular interest in children’s cancer due to her background as a primary school teacher. She has tutored a child with leukaemia and shared a cancer journey with the child’s family. Susan is committed to helping researchers design and roll out patient-centric research projects that acknowledge the human aspects of cancer. Susan is a teacher with former research experience. She has also worked as an editor and therefore brings a wealth of skills in reviewing and editing grant applications.
Susan has undertaken a Consumer in Research training with the Cancer Council NSW in 2015 and became a member of Cancer Voices NSW.


Members of the TCRN Consumer Advisory Panel are available to partner with researchers from within the TCRN membership to provide advice and assistance in the context of the consumer experience. TCRN members wishing to request this service should complete and submit the Consumer Advisor Request Form.