Dr Katie Spencer

Dr Katie Spencer


I am an Honorary Consultant Clinical Oncologist and University Clinical Academic Fellow. I originally trained at the University of Cambridge before moving up to Yorkshire as a junior doctor. I was awarded the Rowan Williams medal for highest mark in the final Clinical Oncology exam for Fellowship of the Royal Clllege of Radiologists before undertaking a Medical Research Council funded Doctoral Training Fellowship.

My PhD investigated how treatment and early mortality outcomes of palliative radiotherapy for bone metastases vary across the NHS. It went on to consider what patient’s priorities are in undergoing treatment and how cost-effective both current and potential future radiotherapy strategies are, recognising that this varies as people near the end of life. I now sit in the Academic Unit of Health Economics where my work continues to bring together routine healthcare data with health economic methodologies to consider the equity, outcomes and cost-effectiveness of cancer care.

My clinical practice includes the delivery of radiotherapy and chemotherapy for patients with lymphoma and other haematological malignancies. I lead the Yorkshire and Humber supra-regional skin lymphoma multi-disciplinary team. I’m NHS England’s National Clinical Lead for Radiotherapy Data. In this role I use my clinical experience and academic knowledge, collaborating with colleagues across the National Disease Registration Service (NDRS), the wider NHS and external stakeholders, to provide information to clinicians, providers and commissioners that can inform and improve the delivery of radiotherapy across the NHS.

Research interests

In line with my work in the NDRS, I have contributed to multiple studies using routine cancer data to consider the utilisation and outcomes of cancer treatment across the NHS. I have worked to understand how variation in utilisation of curative treatment for lung cancer influences mortality at a population level, how the use of radiotherapy for rectal cancer differs across the country and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic the delivery of NHS radiotherapy.

Beyond this I’ve contributed to a large collabroative study assessing the costs of radiotherapy delivery across the NHS. This project was undertaken in collaboration with the Royal College of Radiologists and ESTRO-HERO project, I’m working with colleagues in the International Atomic Energy Agency to develop a radiotherapy dataset for use internationally and contributed to developing the recent Radiotherapy UK “World-class Radiotherapy in the UK” report for the All Party Parlimentary Group on Radiotherapy.

Bringing together my expertise in routine cancer data analysis and health economics, I will investigate how spending in cancer care differs across the NHS, whether this variation reflects patient need or other factors (including those relating to geography and the health service), before considering how this impacts on outcomes. In line with this, I’m undertaking a Cancer Research UK funded project to formally document what is currently known about the costs of cancer, from a health service perspective, a wider economic point of view and importantly, from a patient and carer perspective.

Recognising that sometimes quantitative analyses alone are not sufficient to drive policy change, I contribute to qualitative studies that seek to gain a greater understanding of the experiences of patients and clinicians in healthcare. This includes projects underway with the Centre for Dementia Research, Leeds Beckett university (https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/centre-for-dementia-research/dementia-and-comorbidity/). 


  • MB BChir
  • MA (Cantab)
  • MRCP
  • FRCR
  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • FRCR

Student education

I’m a PhD supervisor to Janet Tonge and previous MRes supervisor to Sairah Naseer. I work with and mentors junior clinical academics and am always happy to be contacted to dsicuss research opportunities.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Academic Unit of Health Economics
  • Health economics
  • Cancer Epidemiology Group
  • Decision Modelling Group
  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>