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St George’s Hospital is uniquely placed in South West London as a Cancer Centre, providing high quality, patient centred diagnostics, care and treatments to our local community as well as to some regional and national patients.
We provides the majority of south west London’s complex cancer surgery. We have a number of regional and supra-regional cancer services with specific expertise in the management of complex surgical patients, and we are the south west London hub for a number of services including:
- Brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) cancers
- Breast cancer
- Children’s cancer
- Gynaecological cancers
- Haematological cancers
- Head and Neck cancer
- Lung cancer
- Urology cancer
St George’s Hospital is also a national centre for skin and penile cancers.
We maintain an active cancer research portfolio and also host the South London Cancer Research Network, which aims to improve the speed, quality and integration of research, ultimately resulting in improved patient care.
St George’s hosts the regional breast, colorectal and cervical cancer screening services. Screening services help the hospital find out if patients have a higher risk of developing cancer or other health problems. They look for cancerous and pre-cancerous cells or abnormal changes to aid in early diagnosis or treating the affected cells before cancer develops.
Diagnosis & Treatment
We provide a full range of diagnostic services to support local patients. This includes tests and scans which are used to diagnose cancer and monitor patients during and after treatment. These tests can be imagery, such as an x-ray, or they may require some tissue, such as a biopsy.
Treatment for all types of cancers may include surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or a combination.
We have a large regional oncology service, providing both chemotherapy and biological treatments. We deliver in the region of 16,000 cycles of treatment each year. Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells.
Hormone therapy works by manipulating or reducing the production or activity of particular hormones in the body. It is most commonly used to treat breast cancer and prostate cancer. The type of cancer being treated will determine the type of hormone therapy given.
St George’s provides the majority of south west London’s complex cancer surgery. The Trust receives referrals from local services as well as from further afield. We are a tertiary centre which performs much of the cancer surgery for several local hospitals.
The Royal Marsden Hospital provides radiotherapy services for St George’s patients. Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. This treatment is used to cure cancer or to relieve symptoms.
The Multi-Disciplinary team
Many people are involved in diagnosing and caring for cancer patients. Each cancer type has a specific multidisciplinary team of staff diagnosing and providing treatment and care for patients. These may include:
- Oncologists, also known as cancer consultants, and may be medical, clinical or surgical. Medical oncologists specialise in treating cancer with chemotherapy and clinical oncologists specialise in using radiotherapy to treat cancer.
- Clinical Nurse Specialists or ‘keyworkers’ who coordinate aspects of patient care and offer ongoing support to patients and their families both in an inpatient and outpatient setting, they are supported by a Macmillan Support Worker.
- Radiologists who specialise in reading scans and x-rays
- Pathologists who specialise in looking at cells under a microscope to determine if cancer is present
- Psychologists, psychiatrist & counsellors
- Occupational therapists
Multidisciplinary teams specialise in specific types of cancer. They discuss with each other all patients with a confirmed or suspected cancer diagnosis, and potential treatment options depending on a patient’s test results and situation. This is normally where cancer is diagnosed. This team approach ensures all treatment options are considered and patients receive the best care. St George’s also links with specialists from other hospitals to discuss patients via video link.
- Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of people facing serious illness. The palliative care service at St George’s provides specialist support and advice to patients with progressive life-limiting illness and their carers, regardless of diagnosis. We are very proud of our close working relationships with the voluntary sector and community providers including several local hospices.
What is Personalised Cancer Care?
Personalised Cancer Care means your team will support you to take an active role in your cancer care by giving choices and control based on what matters most.
Together with your key workers’ team, like your Clinical Nurse Specialist and Macmillan Support worker, we will aim to help you access the care and support that meets your individual needs from the moment you receive your cancer diagnosis so that you can live as full, healthy and active a life as possible.
You will be invited to complete a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) to identify any concerns you may have when you have been diagnosed with cancer. These concerns may be physical, emotional, practical, financial and spiritual.
You will answer a simple set of questions or fill in a checklist about all areas of your life. It is to find out about the concerns you may have. You are often asked to rate how important these concerns are to you. It could help you decide what to discuss first during the assessment.
Once you have completed the assessment, your Clinical Nurse Specialist will discuss your needs, maybe face-to-face in a clinic or over the phone. During the discussion, you and your Clinical Nurse Specialist will agree on the best ways to manage your needs and concerns. They will write down what you have decided in a document called a care plan. They may write it during the discussion. Or they may make notes and send them to you afterwards. Your care plan will record the following:
- The main concerns you talked about
- Suggestions and actions to help you manage your concerns
- Services that may be able to support you, and any referrals that are made
- What is already being done to help – for example, the services you are already using
- Information about who to contact if you need more help
- The details of other health or social care professionals with whom you have agreed to share the information.
You may not wish to complete the holistic needs assessment at this time. The care you receive will not be affected in any way, and we will be happy to discuss this again in the future
Health and wellbeing information and support also include:
- Access to the Macmillan Information & Support Centre to find out what support is available in the community, e.g., practical, financial, and how to access it
- Help with understanding cancer and its treatment and how to manage its impact through videos and workshops run by healthcare professionals at St George’s and in the community.
- Attend wellbeing activities which are great opportunities for you and your carers to get together with others affected by cancer.