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Cancer Services

Oncology is the branch of medicine concerned with diagnosing and treating cancer. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and treatments vary depending on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer (how much it has spread), as well age, health status, and additional personal characteristics.

There is no single treatment for cancer, and patients often receive a combination of therapies and palliative care. Treatments usually fall into one of the following categories: surgery, radiotherapy (radiation treatment), chemotherapy (treatment with strong anti-cancer drugs), immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or gene therapy.

If detected early enough, and treated appropriately, many cancer patients can go on to live relatively normal lives. Others may need more careful and complex care over time.

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Team

Dr D Webb
Lead Cancer Clinician

Ms J Donovan
Cancer Services Manager

Mr I Charles
Waiting Times Manager

Mrs D Marsland
Cancer Waiting Times Facilitator

Mrs J Cooper
Living with and Beyond Programme Manager

 

Services

The Trust is the main provider of cancer services for half a million people at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation in Sandwell, western and central Birmingham, and the surrounding areas.

We aim to provide:

“excellence in cancer care for people living in Sandwell and West Birmingham”

We ensure all patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of cancer are seen quickly, and receive prompt appointments for any tests and treatment. We treat all patients as individuals, and involve them in deciding their treatment and where it is provided. We make sure that patients are provided with the information they need to understand their condition, and what the likely outcomes will be.

Our Specialist Cancer Multi-disciplinary Teams provide the highest possible cancer care at both Sandwell and City Hospitals, and the Birmingham Treatment Centre, and are partners with the West Midlands Cancer Alliance. We guide patients and their relatives to a wide range of wellbeing and practical support services to help them during and after their treatment. We work with partners in other sectors to provide high quality end of life care.

 

Specialist Multi-Disciplinary Cancer Teams (MDT)

The Trust has 10 Specialist Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Teams. Each is made up of doctors, nurses and other experts who have received specialist training and experience in a particular cancer i.e. breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer. The teams work together on a daily basis to ensure that our cancer patients receive the best possible care and treatment. The teams also meet formally on a regular basis to review and agree individual patient treatment plans.
Patients and their relatives get to know members of these teams and see them when they visit the hospital for appointments. Each patient has a named specialist member of the team (keyworker), who acts as a single point of contact, and knows everything about the patient’s case. They support them and their relatives/carers in managing and understanding their cancer care. The keyworker is often the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

Oncology Service

The oncology services are not delivered on site and patient’s will be referred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital or to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton for radiotherapy and chemotherapy services.

Haematology Service

Inpatient haematology services are delivered with a 14-bed inpatient haematology ward at Sandwell. Radiotherapy services are delivered at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Acute Oncology Service (AOS)

The Acute Oncology Service at SWBH delivers a systematic approach to dealing with all patients potentially suffering from the acute complications of cancer treatments (i.e. chemotherapy/radiotherapy).
The AOS aims to deliver a comprehensive acute oncology service with the capability to provide rapid access to oncological expertise and skills and high quality streamlined pathways for patients with suspected cancer and those suffering from the complications of cancer or its treatment. The team operates a specialist nurse lead service supported by two acute oncology lead clinicians working within the context of the acute oncology team.
Patient initiated contact:
Patients are provided with a contact card during the pre-chemotherapy talk which advises them of the process to follow in or out-of-hours should they have a problem with chemotherapy.

Cancer Services Team

The Cancer Services team are dedicated to the provision of high quality support services to the Trust MDTs and in developing the Trust’s cancer strategy. We are committed to:
• Monitoring development and action against the Trust’s cancer strategy
• Delivering on the national cancer waiting times
• Delivery of national cancer measures and participation in the national Quality Surveillance Programme Provision of support in national cancer data set collection and development
• Effective service improvement to better streamline the patient pathway and improve patient experience and efficiency
• Patient engagement, including patient evaluation of Trust delivered cancer services
• The provision of patient information and support services
• Provision of effective and streamlined MDT meetings and coordination services
• Cancer Information and Support Services (CISS) at the Courtyard Centre

Cancer Information and Support Services (CISS)
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust’s CISS has been open since January 2001, and operates from The Courtyard Centre (CYC) based in the main reception area of Sandwell General Hospital. The service provides support and information to anyone affected by cancer within the Sandwell and West Birmingham Communities, including patients, their families and carers, as well as ealth professionals.
The CISS is a volunteer-led service offering free information and support services by either drop-in or telephone daily, between the hours of 10am and 4pm,. This is offered within a friendly and informal atmosphere. The Centre is supported by Clinical Nurse Specialists and provides the following services:
• Information resources
• Lending library
• Signposting to cancer support services and local support groups
• Cancer Patient Support Services (Headways, Look Good…Feel Better, Wig Fitting)

HeadWays
Headways Hair Loss Advisory and Support Service is a confidential, free service run by specially trained volunteers for those suffering hair loss as a result of treatment for any type of cancer (not just breast cancer). Volunteers deliver appointments in pairs and will offer practical information and support around hair loss due to cancer treatment, on an individual appointment basis. Headways appointments take place on Wednesday afternoons at the Courtyard Centre, and last up to an hour.

Look Good…Feel Better
Workshops are held on alternative months at City Hospital, Birmingham. The service offers practical help to women undergoing treatments for cancer, which can dramatically change their appearance and body image, e.g. loss of hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. During the free two-hour workshops, trained beauticians guide patients through a 12-step skincare and make-up regime. Everyone is given a complementary gift bag of products to take home at the end of the session. Further information about Look Good Feel Better can be found at https://www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk

Wig fitting services
We work in partnership with local businesses who provide the fitting of wigs and hairpieces and offer advice and support to patients who may be experiencing hair loss as a result of treatment for any type of cancer.

Welfare Benefits Advice and Support – Macmillan Citizens Advise Benefits Teams
This Macmillan supported service provides welfare benefits advice to patients living in Sandwell and West Birmingham who are affected by cancer, including patients, relatives and carers. The service is for clients at any stage of the cancer journey from diagnosis to end of life . The team’s benefits advisers provide free face to face help and support in assessing and receiving financial help entitlement, They have specialist knowledge of welfare benefits, tax credits and grants and can offer up-to-date, invaluable advice Advisers are currently available at Sandwell Hospital on Mondays and City Hospital on Fridays and at various other hospitals across the West Midlands region. Referrals are via Cancer Specialist Nurse or self-referral by calling 01384 817721.

Lymphoedema Services
The lymphoedema Service is available to all adults with a Birmingham or Sandwell GP, with a chronic oedema (abnormal swelling encountered by some cancer patients) or who are at risk of developing a chronic oedema requiring an assessment, diagnosis and management plan. See the “contact” page for more details.

Cancer Registration

Whenever someone is diagnosed with cancer or a condition that may lead to cancer, the NHS team looking after you will record information about you and the care you receive. This applies to people of all ages, including children.
Hospitals and doctors are allowed by law to pass this information onto the National Cancer Registry which is part of Public Health England., but we need to make sure that patients know this is happening.

Cancer Registration FAQs

What do you need to know about me?

We need to know some details about you (such as your name, address, age and sex). We need these details to make sure we are recording the right information about the right person. We also need to know about the type of cancer or condition you have, the treatment you are receiving or have already received and your progress. We need this information to help us to identify possible causes of cancer and to find out about the best treatments.

Do I need to do anything?

You do not need to do anything – there are no forms to fill in and nothing to sign. Your hospital or doctor will  share the relevant information to  the registry during your care.

What will you do with this information?

The registry is very careful with private information and follows strict rules about how it is kept and who can use it. Information is stored on computers with secure passwords, and in paper files in locked storage cabinets.  It is all kept strictly confidential and is only available to appropriate staff.

Will anyone contact me?

No one from the cancer registry will contact you.

They sometimes release information to approved cancer researchers under strict conditions.  For most cancer research, patients do not need to be contacted, but in some cases they do. If a researcher needs to contact you, they will only ever do this with the approval of your own doctor.

Do I have a choice?

Yes, you can object and this will not affect the care you receive. However, in order to work properly, the registration system needs to know about everyone with cancer.

Your details help care teams to learn how best to treat cancer, make sure they provide the best care, and help to find out the causes of cancer.

If you are concerned about your details being registered or any other issues raised here, please discuss this with your doctor.

Where can I get more information?
If you have any questions, you can get more information by:

If you still do not want your information included in the national cancer registry, you can then inform your doctor or email optout@phe.gov.uk

Patient Stories

 Cancer and I – The personal story of Leah Ferris

Many young women think cervical screening tests unimportant, in the belief that the likelihood of developing cervical cancer is low for them, and that was what 28-year-old Leah Ferris thought, until she experienced unusual symptoms which drove her to seek her GP’s advice.Leah Ferris

 A mother-of-two, Leah discovered she had early stage cervical cancer in late July 2015, not long after the birth of her second child. Concerns were raised when Leah experienced changes in her monthly cycle, which she initially put down to the birth, as her daughter was only five months at this time. She assumed the changes were due to hormones so did not take any action. However, when her symptoms persisted over several more months, a nervous Leah went to her GP to book a smear test.

After her smear test, Leah received news that the ‘cells were abnormal’. She explained: “I went for a test to see if I was suitable to have a fairly simple procedure to remove the abnormal cells, but unfortunately, this process wasn’t suitable for me as the cancer had spread too far.” Leah received the news about her cancer at Sandwell Hospital, where she spoke to a specialist regarding her biopsy results.

On discovering she had cancer, Leah said she was in denial at the beginning as she considered herself too young to have the illness, and had no family history – despite knowing it was not a genetic illness. However, when it eventually sank in she felt extremely frightened for her children and also blamed herself as she could have reduced the risks by going for regular check-ups instead of ignoring them. Leah claimed that the hardest time during her experience was the waiting period between having the biopsy done and waiting for the results, those two weeks felt like a very long time. She said: “It felt like I was waiting for someone to decide my fate and tell me what was happening to me.”

Despite this, she felt extremely lucky in comparison to others as her treatment began in August and ended in November, as some people can suffer for years and their treatment can last a very long time.

Leah’s main treatment took place at City Hospital, where she received a biopsy under general anaesthetic, followed by a full hysterectomy. Leah said that staff from the cancer services were extremely helpful, providing leaflets which included useful information about her cancer and treatment. There was also a cancer nurse available at every meeting with the specialist. She said: “If I ever had any questions or issues there was always someone available that I could call, and one member of staff in particular was there for me, as I knew I could speak to her whenever I needed to”.

Leah found staff at both Sandwell and City Hospital extremely supportive even after her treatment. She added: “I would like to thank all the staff that I dealt with, in particular the specialist Macmillan nurse and my surgeon, there’s no words to explain the depth of gratitude to someone who you feel have saved your life, but if there is something I can say then I would really like to thank them for what they did for me”.

Leah continued: “I recommend City Hospital to anyone as I was very pleased with the treatment I received, the surgeon I dealt with was extremely experienced and helpful. I felt as safe as I could be.”

Dr Janos Balega, gynaecological oncologist at Sandwell and West Birmingham  NHS Trust, said: “We are pleased that the treatment for Leah was successful and we helped her return to her normal life.

“The importance of taking regular smear tests is tremendous. The tests help us to identify pre-cancerous cells so we can perform small operations to prevent actual cancer.”

Contacts

All members of the Cancer Services Management team and/or infrastructure can be contacted on 0121 507 2776.

Specialist Multi-disciplinary teams:

Cancer Site MDT Meeting day MDT Lead Clinical Nurse Specialists / KeyWorkers
Breast 11.30am-2pm
Thursdays
Mr H Brown Sue Frost, Marcia Berry, Amanda Jones, Helen Taylor, Geraldine Sheridan
Lung Tuesday Dr I Ahmed Teresa Rowe, Denise Pearce, Sharron Newbold
Urology Thursday Mr P Ryan Denise Allmark, Emma Hill, Sharon Leahy
Upper GI Thursday Dr M Anderson Jo Harvey , Tina Davies
Lower GI Thursday Mr H Joy Mandie Ballentine, Sara Connor, Kath Dawes, Jodie Jevons
Gynae-oncology Friday Mr J Nevin Jeantette Kilner, Julie Winning, Teresa Harris, Yvonne Doyle
Head and Neck Wednesday atQueenElizabethHospital Mrs J O’Connell Jim Doherty
Skin Alt. Mondays Dr S Velangi Lucy Smith
Haematology Mondays Dr Y Hasan Margaret Watts, Jane Ogleby, Kay Kendall, Samantha Toland
Acute Palliative Wednesdays Dr A Lock See Specialist Palliative Care Services
Community Palliative Wednesdays Dr D Webb See Specialist Palliative Care Services

 Haematology

Chemotherapy Suite, Walkden Unit, Sandwell Hospital.
Telephone: 0121 507 3533/3364.

Inpatient Haematology ward
Newton 5, Sandwell Hospital.
Telephone: 0121 507 3314.

Acute oncology

We have a number of ways patients who attend the Walkden Unit, at Sandwell Hospital can contact our team during an emergency.

  • During working hours please call the 24-hour mobile number held by the Acute Oncology Service, which can be reached via the main switchboard on 0121 553 1831.
  • During out-of-hours, call the 24-hour mobile number held by the Walkden unit via the Inpatient Haematology Ward on 0121 507 3314. 

 

The Courtyard Centre

Cancer Information and Support Service
Sandwell General Hospital
Lyndon
West Bromwich
B71 4HJ

Telephone: 0121 507 3792
Email:   Emma Hunstone, Cancer Support Manager: emma.hunstone@nhs.net

Other services 

Headways
Bookings via Courtyard Centre: 0121 507 3792

Look good… feel better
Bookings via Courtyard Centre: 0121 507 3792

City Benefits Advice
Referrals are via Keyworker / Clinical Nurse Specialist or via Macmillan CAB Benefits Team.
Telephone Help Line 0121 683 5601

Bridges
Tel: 0121 612 2939

Cancer Research Services
Cancer Research Team
Clinical Investigation Unit
Sandwell Hospital 
Lyndon
West Bromwich
B71 4HJ
Tel: 0121 507 3621

Sandwell Wellbeing Hub
c/o Spires Health Centre
Victoria Street
Wednesbury
WS10 7EH

Tel: 0303 033 9903
Email: sandwellbeing.co.uk

Lymphoedema Services 

Moseley Hall Hospital
Alcester Road, Moseley
Birmingham, B13 8JL
Tel: 0121 466 6162

Summerfield Primary Care Centre
Winson Green Road, Winson Green
Birmingham
B18 7AG
Tel: 0121 466 6110

John Taylor Hospice
76 Grange Road, Erdington
Birmingham, B24 0DF
Tel: 0121 465 2000

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