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Personalised cancer care and support

Supporting you to live well during and beyond your cancer treatment

Cancer

 

Personalised care is based on what matters to you. This care and support focuses on your personal needs to allow you to live as well as possible during and after your cancer treatment. We are working hard to make sure all people diagnosed with cancer at Guy's and St Thomas' have access to personalised care. 

On this page

What is personalised cancer care?

Follow-up appointments

Treatment and feeling unwell

Other ways we can support you

Support and information

Share your experience

 

What is personalised cancer care?

There are 4 steps to your personalised cancer care.

  • 1. Personalised care and support planning

     

    To find out what matters to you, your clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or support worker will offer you an assessment of your needs.

    This is often called a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and should be offered to you soon after your diagnosis and at other significant times, such as at the end of a phase of treatment.

    A Holistic Needs Assessment gives you the opportunity to think about and discuss your needs. These might be physical, practical, emotional or social. It helps you identify and prioritise what matters most to you and what you might need support with.

    You can complete this assessment face to face with your health care professional, over the phone or in your own time by an email or text link.

    Once completed, your clinical nurse specialist or support worker will talk through the assessment with you and create a care plan with you. This plan will include the information and support you need.

  • 2. Treatment Summary

     

    When you reach the end of a period of treatment, you should receive a ‘Treatment Summary’.

    Your Treatment Summary will include:

    • your diagnosis
    • the treatment you received
    • follow-up arrangements
    • possible long-term effects or complications
    • signs and symptoms to look out for
    • details of who to get in touch with if you need support or are worried about anything 

    Your GP will also get a copy of your summary.

  • 3. Health and wellbeing information and support

     

    Information and support is available to help you during and beyond your cancer treatment, and can help with:

    • emotional support
    • coping with side effects
    • physical wellbeing
    • advice about money
    • getting back to work
    • making healthy lifestyle choices

    It is important that you get the support and help you need to live as well as possible after treatment. Your CNS, support worker or cancer information centre will be able to help you with information. 

  • 4. Cancer Care Review

     

    You should receive a call from your GP in the first 3 months of being diagnosed to offer help with any needs that you have.

    In addition, a Cancer Care Review takes place at your GP practice either with the GP or practice nurse usually within the first 6 to 12 months after your diagnosis. Your review should include:

    • talking about your diagnosis and current needs and any worries you may have
    • any extra support you might need
    • a review of your medication
    • giving you access to other services you may need, such as counsellors, rehabilitation specialists or social prescribers

    If you have concerns at any point during or after your cancer treatment you can always contact your GP or practice nurse.

 

What you can expect from personalised cancer care

  • Working in partnership with your clinician and care team and making decisions together.
  • Understanding your options and choosing.
  • Building your knowledge, skills and confidence.
  • Connecting with other people or organisations in your community for support.
  • Designing your own plan supported by professionals.
  • Managing your personal health budget for your NHS healthcare and support needs, with help if you need.

 

Follow-up appointments

After your treatment, you may be offered a new form of follow-up, called personalised stratified follow-up (PSFU), also called patient initiated follow up (PIFU).

This is designed to reduce the number of outpatient appointments you will need to attend when your treatment is finished.

Your clinical team will discuss this with you and, if suitable, you may be offered:

  • regular surveillance scans or tests, with quicker and easier access to results
  • rapid re-access to your cancer team, including telephone advice and support, if you are worried about any symptoms, side-effects or treatment
  • information about signs and symptoms to look out for, suggesting your cancer may have returned
  • personalised care and support planning and support for self-management to help you to improve your health and wellbeing in the long-term

 

Treatment and feeling unwell

If you are experiencing any side effects from your treatment or are feeling unwell, please call acute oncology on 020 7188 3754.

This service is available 24 hours a day, every day. Calls made outside of Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6.15pm, will be directed to switchboard who can contact the on-call doctor.

A healthcare professional will advise you what you need to do next.

  • Issues you may experience because of treatment

    Sexual difficulties

    The challenges of the disease and treatment (and its side effects) can impact on intimacy and the sexual aspects of your life. 

    Need to talk about sex and intimacy issues? patient information leaflet (PDF 100Kb)

    Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)

    Different chemotherapy drugs can cause different amounts of sickness and your doctor will may prescribe anti-sickness medicines (anti-emetics) to help control any sickness caused by your chemotherapy treatment.

    Download anti-sickness medicines after your chemotherapy (PDF 138Kb)

    Hot flushes

    Hot flushes are the sensation of sudden waves of intense heat and a feeling that the face and whole body is flushing and commonly occur in men undergoing hormone deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.

    Download hot flushes – managing hot flushes (PDF 134Kb)

    Build-up of fluid (Lymphoedema)

    The Lymphoedema clinic can offer advice, information and education on lymphoedema treatment and management. You need a referral from your GP, health professional, oncologist or nurse to access this service.

    Lymphoedema team contact: 020 7188 4749

    Tiredness (fatigue)

    Fatigue (persistent overwhelming sense of tiredness unrelated to activity) is a common side effect of cancer treatment. There is good evidence to show that doing physical activity can reduce your symptoms of fatigue.

    Speech problems

    A common symptom you may experience with a brain tumour is word finding difficulties. This is where you can't say, or think of, the word you want to say. 

    Watch our help with word finding difficulties video on YouTube, where a speech and language therapist at Guy's Cancer shows some methods you can use to help with word finding difficulties.

    Dental problems

    Some types of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and biological therapy drugs can cause changes in the lining of your mouth and make it very sore.

    Download mouth care during and after systemic (drug) cancer treatment (PDF 136Kb)

 

Other ways we can support you

  • Keeping healthy

     

    Physical activity

    During cancer treatment, many people become less active because of the effects of treatment. Keeping active can help with some of the side effects of treatment including pain, feeling tired and feeling sick (nausea).

    The cancer physiotherapy team at Guy's and St Thomas' can support you with this. Contact the oncology physiotherapy team on 020 7188 9654, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.45pm. You can also email us at active.you@gstt.nhs.uk

    Download physical activity following cancer diagnosis patient information leaflet (PDF 338Kb)

    Nutrition and healthy weight management

    It is important to have a nutritious and well-balanced diet to help you cope with the side effects of treatment, prevent weight loss, prevent nutritional deficiencies, reduce the risk of infections and help with recovery from treatment.

    The dietetic service can support you with nutritional difficulties. Some of these nutritional difficulties may include:

    • difficulty eating enough due to the side effects of treatment or the cancer
    • weight gain due to the treatment you have had
    • knowing how to eat with the diagnosis you have or the treatment you are being given

    Many of the oncology teams have a dietitian as part of the clinics and you should be able to speak with your team to ask to be referred for further advice and support. Alternatively, you can call 020 7188 4128 to make a self-referral.

    Download dietary advice during chemotheraphy patient information leaflet (PDF 131Kb)

    Stop smoking service

    The stop smoking service aims to help people to give up smoking by providing advice, support and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good. 

    Watch our supporting you to quit smoking video on YouTube to find out more or contact the stop smoking team by calling 020 7188 0995 or email stopsmoking@gstt.nhs.uk

  • Emotional and psychological wellbeing

     

    A diagnosis of cancer and the experiences that follow are likely to affect you and your family and can make you feel anxious, worried and low.

    Useful support resources

    Dimbleby cancer care service

    Each of us responds to cancer in a different way, and the experience can feel overwhelming and frightening. A cancer diagnosis may also bring back difficult past memories and experiences. We provide a range of support to help you, and those close to you, find ways of adjusting to your diagnosis, the treatment and its effects.

    For some people, talking with a friend or with their named key worker or cancer nurse specialist (CNS), may help. However, sometimes you might need additional support or want to protect others from the difficult and unwanted feelings you are experiencing. At these times, it can be useful to talk to our expert cancer counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists.

    We provide a range of psychologically informed approaches, including person-centred counselling, psychodynamic and existential psychotherapy, psychosexual therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Our acceptance and commitment therapy includes mindfulness approaches and systemic therapy. Together, we will discuss your current concerns and identify the best approach for you.

    What we offer:
    • one-to-one therapeutic support for people with cancer or their loved ones, including specialist psychiatry if needed
    • family support – supporting people with cancer alongside their partner, spouse or family members, including children
    • support groups – drop-in groups for people with cancer and their carers led by therapists and a clinical nurse where you can meet others in a similar situation, talk through your experiences and share practical tips
    • therapy groups – groups run by therapists focussing on a specific topic. These currently include: 'men with cancer group', 'survivorship in ACTion for people worried that cancer will return' and 'bereavement therapy'
  • Complementary therapies

     

    Complementary therapies are supportive therapies offered alongside medical treatments. Many patients find these therapies help them to manage symptoms and side effects. They may also help you to relax and sleep better. None of these therapies are aimed at curing cancer.

    All of our therapies are safely administered by our specialist therapists, who in accordance with London Cancer Alliance (LCA) guidelines (2013), are accredited with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

    One-to-one therapy

    • aromatherapy – the use of fragrant essential oils for their clinical and therapeutic properties, commonly via massage or in a bespoke blended aromastick
    • massage – the application of gentle strokes to different parts of the body to relieve muscular tension or constipation
    • reflexology – the gentle manipulation of the feet and hands to help relax the whole body
    • reiki – a practice of therapeutic touch to rebalance the body, mind and spirit

    Group sessions

    • relaxation and stress management courses –separate sessions are run for outpatients and carers
    • seated acupuncture group – the insertion of very fine needles in specific points on the body (mainly hands and feet). All needles are single use, sterile and disposable
    • complementary therapy short courses – dealing with topics such as the safe use of aromatherapy at home, meditation, mindfulness, coping with tiredness and coping with sleep issues
    • watch our acupressure short films on YouTube, where an acupuncturist from Dimbleby Cancer Care demonstrates how you can self-massage three acupressure points
  • Financial and work support

     

    Dimbleby Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support and Southwark CAB service have joined forces to provide advice on welfare benefits and other sources of financial help to people affected by cancer.

    We can give help and advice with:

    • applying for and entitlements to benefits
    • appealing against benefits decisions
    • applying for tax credits
    • health costs such as prescriptions and travel to hospital
    • transport concessions such as disabled parking badge
    • accessing charitable grants
    • housing costs

 

Support and information

NHS cancer information centres

Other sources of support

  • Cancer Care Map: an online directory that helps people find cancer care and support services in their local area.
  • NHS 111: medical help and advice from fully trained advisers supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. Call 111 any time, 24 hours a day
  • NHS Live Well: advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing.
  • South East London Cancer Alliance: cancer services across south east London, plus links to information and support.
  • Cancer Wellbeing London: cancer health and wellbeing information, activities and seminars run by the NHS in your area. There are short videos providing advice on common concerns and there are links to the major cancer charities.

 

Share your experience

 

 

Dimbleby Cancer Care Service

Dimbleby Cancer Care is a support and information service for patients and their carers.

Tel: 020 7188 5918
Email: dimblebycancercare
@gstt.nhs.uk

Where to find us

Welcome Village (W1)
Guy's Cancer Centre

What's on at the Cancer Centre?

See our range of events aimed at supporting you.

Finding your way around the Cancer Centre

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Download our Cancer Centre map (PDF 116Kb)