Being diagnosed with cancer can have a devastating effect on a person's physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. At University Hospitals we strive to lessen that effect by providing support and care of the highest standard possible. We provide cancer care to a local population of 700,000 and diagnose approximately 2,400 new cases of cancer each year.
We have the facilities to diagnose and treat all types of cancers, including a wide range of diagnostic services for both adults and young people, such as PET-CT scanning. We offer most specialist treatments including complex open and laparoscopic surgery, chemotherapy, external beam and intracavity radiotherapy, haematology, brachytherapy and palliative and supportive care services.
We provide inpatient, day care and outpatient services for all areas of cancer treatment. If highly specialised treatments are required, for example bone cancer surgery, liver surgery and paediatric cancer surgery, we have excellent links to an appropriate centre where those specialist services are provided.
A multidisciplinary team discusses every newly diagnosed case to agree on the best treatment plan for that patient. There is a team for each of the cancer types. Each team meets weekly and is made up of all staff who are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with that particular cancer type.
University Hospital is a specialist surgical centre for upper gastro intestinal, gynaecological, brain and lung cancers and works in close partnership with other hospitals, including Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals, Leighton Hospital, Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Birmingham, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, Birmingham Children's Hospital and University Hospital Birmingham.
Chemotherapy within non-surgical oncology is delivered at County Hospital. Each area delivers chemotherapy to either oncology or haematology patients. There is a busy outpatient treatment area (Chemotherapy Treatment Unit) and a ward dedicated to the delivery of overnight and longer chemotherapies (Ward 2). Contact Number: 01785 230600
Clinical trials are studies into new types of medical care, treatment or a combination of both. Clinical trials can be diverse and may explore the biological, psychological or financial effects of a new treatment or they may focus on the prevention or diagnosis of an illness.
The development of clinical trials in cancer care is extremely important as a way of exploring and deciding the most effective and efficient means of treating cancer. This is crucial in the light of the number of new drugs and treatments which are constantly being developed. All research studies are ethically approved nationally and locally and are carried out according to the EU directive for medicinal products, NHS Research Governance and Good Clinical Practice Guidelines.'
A pioneering cancer specialist is using 3D technology to show his patients where the tumour is. Dr Josep Sule-Suso, associate specialist and senior lecturer in Oncology, helps patients understand their cancer and how it is treated.
Dr Sule-Suso said: "This 3D technology really is remarkable. We can sit the patient down one to one with the consultant or with their family and bring up a 3D image of their body and the position of the tumour. You can really get them to understand why they will suffer particular side effects from the treatment. Someone with a prostate tumour will have treatments that will affect other organs like the bladder.
"We can show the patient the 3D image of the tumour by zooming in and out and rotating the 3D image so they can understand why neighbouring organs are affected. On the screen the patient can see where they will have to lie down under the Linac machine while they receive their treatment. Using the 3D imagery we can help patients understand the treatment environment or why they might hear funny noises when the machine moves around them."
Everyone undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment is entitled to free NHS prescriptions.
How can I apply?
Patients can collect an application form FP92A from their GP surgery, cancer clinics or The Macmillan Cancer Support and Information Centre (ground floor/main entrance of the hospital). Their GP, hospital doctor or service doctor must countersign the form.
All cancer patients are entitled to apply for a 5-year exemption certificate, which will entitle them to all their NHS prescriptions free of charge, not just those relating to cancer. The certificate can be renewed as many times as necessary and will not have to be returned if the patient's condition changes.
Patients who are aged 60 and over are exempt from NHS prescription charges on age grounds and do not need to apply for a medical exemption certificate. Patients who are exempt because they are receiving a relevant benefit, for example income support, may wish to apply for a medical exemption certificate so they are covered if their financial circumstances change.
Number and website address for more information include: www.dh.gov.uk/helpwithhealthcosts or by calling 0845 610 1112. Remember that you will need to show your pharmacist your prescription charge exemption certificate when you collect your prescription.
Patients suffering hair loss through illness or cancer treatment at University Hospitals now have their very own state of the art wig and beauty salon based in the Cancer Centre. Whilst cancer treatment undoubtedly saves lives, the side effects can have a huge impact on a patient’s appearance. Fresh Hair Wigs and Beauty offers patients the opportunity to have a one to one appointment with an experienced wig fitter and a choice of over 80 different wigs which can be fitted and styled there and then enabling the patient to leave the salon wearing their new hair.
There is also a qualified beautician on hand offering various beauty treatments including manicures, pedicures and even make-up lessons showing patients how to cope with losing eyebrows and eyelashes. In the Refresh lounge you can sit and relax in a friendly environment and enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack. The salon also has a wide selection of headwear on sale with turbans, scarves and hats by specialist suppliers Suburban Turban and Christine Headwear.
Fiona Ford, of Woore, during her treatment for breast cancer was inspired to raise money for a bespoke wig salon and her fundraising together with that of Nic Cutherbertson and the hard work of her breast care nurse Helen Francis has turned the dream into reality.
Fiona said: “The side effects of chemotherapy can be devastating and one of the hardest things for a woman to deal with is losing her hair and in my case eyebrows and eyelashes as well! I felt there was a real need to provide a bespoke wig salon at the hospital so that women could choose a wig from a wide selection in a welcoming salon environment. For me wearing a wig helped me to look normal and if you look good you feel better and having a positive attitude definitely helps in your recovery– Fresh Hair Wigs and Beauty is the dream come true!!”
Helen Francis, a breast cancer specialist nurse, said: "Women lose their hair two or three weeks into chemotherapy. Their treatment is traumatic enough without adding problems with the wigs. It was my dream to have a dedicated wig room in the hospital with a selection of styles available rather than having to re-order and wait weeks for the right one."
Steve Rushton, UHNM Charity manager, said: "The initial fundraising came from Nick Cuthbertson, who lost his wife Mandy in 2007. Nick raised a fantastic amount of money, and other fundraisers then started to contribute. But it was not until Fiona became involved did the project really take off. The work of Helen Francis, together with Fiona’s time and energy, means the people of North Staffordshire have a service that really touches people's hearts and helps our staff connect with the patients."
Cancer Support and Information Centre
We are here to provide information and support to anyone affected by cancer, including relatives, friends and carers. The service is staffed by two Macmillan professionals who have experience of working with people affected by cancer. They are supported by trained volunteers. We can listen to how cancer is affecting your life and direct you to other sources of information and support.
You don't have to be a hospital patient to use our service, and you don't need an appointment, but if you are making a special journey please ring to ensure we are open.Please note that we are not related to the local Douglas Macmillan Hospice. Information on the hospice can be found at www.dmhospice.org.uk
The service is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and can be contacted on 01782 676333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our address is Macmillan Cancer Support and Information Centre, University Hospitals of North Midlands, Royal Stoke University Hospital, Ground Floor, Main Building, Newcastle Road, Stoke on Trent, ST4 6QG (we are down the corridor to the right of the reception in the main building, just past the PALS office). We can:
provide a wide range of free booklets on all aspects of cancer
provide access to information in other formats e.g. DVD, Braille and audio
provide access to online information
provide information on travel insurance
provide information on local and national support groups
provide help with grant applications
provide cancer prevention and healthy lifestyle advice
provide referral to a range of services such as benefits advice, counselling and social services
provide a quiet room to find support or to ask questions away from the clinical areas of the hospital
visit patients on the ward, and in clinics and departments (e.g. outpatients clinic or radiotherapy department)
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs, with the aim of curing the disease or controlling the symptoms. There are various groups of treatments for different cancer sites or types. The treatment regime prescribed within these groups depends on each individual patient's condition, with the dosage determined by the patient's height and weight.
The average course of chemotherapy treatment is six months, with the number of visits ranging from one a week to one a month and the length of each visit ranging from half an hour to seven hours depending on the individual treatment regime.
Most patients are pleasantly surprised that the chemotherapy unit does not look like a hospital ward. Treatment is provided in comfortable, reclining chairs arranged so that patients can talk to each other or to friends and family who come with them. There is a bedroom where patients can receive treatment if they feel unwell.
When they first start a course of chemotherapy, patients are seen by their oncologist who confirms their treatment. They are then taken round the unit by one of the qualified nurses who explains what will happen, what to expect during the treatment and how to get help and support. While they are on the unit, patients and those accompanying them can make drinks and snacks in the kitchen area of the waiting room.
Patients receive one to one chemotherapy care from expert qualified nurses during their treatment but there is also a small team of trained oncology nurses who provide advice and support between visits and throughout the course of treatment, so patients are not left alone. We also have a 24 hour dedicated telephone helpline for patients to ring for advice and support at any time of the day or night.
A team of professionals, made up of a receptionist, nurses, doctors, a secretary, pharmacists and dieticians, work together on the unit to guide each patient through their own course of treatment.
Radiotherapy is the use of high energy X-rays to treat patients with cancer. The treatment may be radical with the aim of curing the disease, or it may be palliative to control the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. The treatment is delivered by machines called linear accelerators. Each patient's radiotherapy treatment is tailor-made for them. No two treatments are the same.
All patients who are to receive radiotherapy have their treatment carefully planned first. Most patients have a CT scan which is used to outline the areas to be treated. Patients with head or neck cancer have a specially constructed plastic shell, or mask, made for them to wear during each treatment for accuracy and to keep the head perfectly still.
Before the first treatment, each patient has a session on the simulator, which mimics the linear accelerator, to check the plan is right for that individual. The number of treatments on the linear accelerator depends on each patient's condition. It can be anything from one to 37 treatments and each treatment can take anything from two to 60 minutes. Most of the time is taken in getting the patient in the right position for the treatment. The delivery of the x-ray itself is very quick.
No-one is allowed to be in the room while a patient is receiving radiotherapy, but the radiographers can see the patient all the time through CCTV so the patient is not left alone. The Radiotherapy Department at University Hospitals is a very busy unit, but staff try to offer patients appointments at around the same time of day to make it easier for them to organise their lives around the treatment.
Patients have daily contact with the radiographers who look after them while they are attending for treatment but, during the course of treatment, patients normally have the opportunity to see a nurse or a doctor about any other concerns or specific aspects of their care.
There are national screening programmes which involve testing large groups of healthy people for early signs of certain types of cancer. The links below will take you to the NHS screening programme web site and local services.The current screening programmes are:
Genetic Screening (WMFACS)
With an ageing population more people are being diagnosed with cancer and people are surviving a cancer diagnosis due to earlier detection and improved treatments.
People are now Living With and Beyond Cancer, therefore it is vital that support continues during and after treatment.
The National Initiative to improve outcomes for people Living With and Beyond Cancer has seen the introduction of the Macmillan Recovery Package within the Trust, which is a series of key interventions wthat, when delivered together, can greatly improve outcomes for people living with and beyond cancer.
The NHS 10 Year Plan was recently published (Jan 2019) and it is important for us to recognise that elements of the Recovery Package are some of the milestones for cancer within this.
- By 2021, every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including a needs assessment, care plan and health and wellbeing information and support.
- By 2023, patient centred follow-up pathways will be in place for all clinically appropriate cancers.
The Recovery Package was developed by Macmillan to support people so that they feel more in control of their illness and recovery, which positively improves both physical and emotional health outcomes.
The Recovery Package has four main interventions:
- Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Planning
- Treatment Summary
- Cancer Care Review
- Health and Wellbeing information
It will provide a more integrated model of care, through a better coordinated approach between the hospital, the GP and the person with cancer. Click here to watch a video by Macmillan Cancer Support, highlighting the benefits of the Recovery Package.
Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA)
A Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) uses a recognised assessment tool that allows an individual with a cancer diagnosis to identify their most significant concerns at key points along their cancer pathway.
The HNA is a discussion with a member of the clinical team soon after diagnosis, end of treatment and any other significant point to talk about physical, emotional and social needs. The focus is on the person as a whole – not just their illness. The person with cancer decides how much information they would like to share about their current situation.
People with cancer, as well as those who have completed their main treatment and are cancer-free, often require support in addition to the management of their condition or follow-up. They may also need information about those who can help with issues that can affect them at any given time. Often, patients do not raise issues that are important to them with their doctors or nurses. Such issues might include:
- difficulties with relationships - these might be connected to the relationships they have with friends, the role they have within their family or intimacy issues they have with their partner
- symptoms and physical concerns - they may feel anxious about their illness and recovery, or about the changes in their body
- feelings and emotions - they may feel low or worried
- money worries - they may want to know more about the financial help available to them
The assessment identifies the individual needs of the person affected by cancer and ensures that care is proactive and support services are planned and accessed appropriately. The assessment can be used to inform the treatment summary.
Benefits of completing an HNA
- It can help you identify concerns that have been on your mind
- It isn't just about looking at the symptoms of cancer - it helps your Key Worker understand what is important to you
- Your Key Worker can refer you on to other services that may be beneficial to you
- Personalised individual care, tailored to your concerns
HNAs are available within all of the cancer teams to enable people affected by cancer to identify their concerns throughout their journey.
If you would like more information click here.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Macmillan can offer general advice on eating healthily, keeping active, quitting smoking and maintaining weight loss or gain click here.
Side effects and symptoms
You might experience a range of side effects during and after cancer treatment. Find out how to manage symptoms by clicking here.
A Treatment Summary is produced by the hospital at the end of treatment. A Treatment Summary describes the treatment that the person has had, the potential side effects and signs and symptoms of recurrence. It is designed to be shared with the person living with cancer and their GP.
Treatment Summaries encourage a standardised and consistent approach to sharing crucial information between the GP and the person living with cancer. It aims to inform General Practitioners and other primary care professionals of any actions they need to take and who to contact with any questions or concerns.
Benefits of the Treatment Summary
- Highlights essential treatment information in one document
- Helps patients to understand their treatment and any potential effects of treatment
- The document can be shared with other professionals of their treatment, to gain access to services such as travel insurance.
The aim is to give each patient a Treatment Summary at the end of their cancer treatment, giving them the tools to understand their journey.
The Trust have committed to creating an electronic treatment summary, and this is in its first phase to make treatment summaries available to at least those people with Breast, Prostate or colorectal cancer by 2021.
Patient engagement is a focus of health and wellbeing and this part of the Recovery Package is designed to help people affected by cancer and their family and friends get the support they need during and after cancer treatment. It is designed to support self-management.
UHNM are working with Penny Brohn UK and Macmillan Cancer Support to offer free monthly health and wellbeing events. Events are free to attend and open to people living with cancer as well as family and friends; to meet others with similar experiences and empower then to take practical actions to support their health and wellbeing. The events provide information on diet, exercise, emotional and psychological support and managing stress; to help people live well with the wider impact of cancer in their lives. It is hoped that these events will help improve patient access to the support and care they need when recovering from cancer at any stage. For some people it may be months or even years after treatment has finished that they realise they need support and these events are for those people too. Click here for more information.
The Living well with and beyond cancer events include the opportunity for advice about work or finance, physical activity and local services that offer help and support for people living with a long term condition. For more information to support your health and wellbeing you can phone or visit our Macmillan Cancer Support services at both Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital.