Personalised cancer care and support
We are working hard to make sure all people diagnosed with cancer at Guy's and St Thomas' have access to personalised care. Personalised care is based on what matters to you and your individual strengths and needs.
Personalised care – what we offer
- Personalised care and support planning (based on holistic needs assessments (HNA)) makes sure that your physical, practical, emotional and social needs are identified and addressed at the earliest opportunity. You may be asked to complete a HNA questionnaire with your key worker or online. If you haven't been offered a HNA, please ask your key worker or team about this.
- End of treatment summaries provide both you and your GP with valuable information, including a detailed summary of treatment completed, potential side effects, signs and symptoms of recurrence and contact details to address any concerns.
- Health and wellbeing information and support including emotional support, coping with side effects, financial advice, getting back to work and making healthy lifestyle choices. Information and support resources can be found below.
- Primary care cancer care review is a discussion between you and your GP/primary care nurse about your cancer experience. This helps you to discuss any concerns, and, if appropriate, to be referred to services or signposted to information and support that is available in your communities.
Providing personalised supported self-management follow-up care
After you have completed your treatment, you will be offered:
- information about signs and symptoms to look out for, which could suggest your cancer may have returned
- access to your cancer team, including telephone advice and support, if you are worried about any symptoms, including possible side effects of treatment
- regular scans or tests (depending on cancer type), with quicker and easier access to results so that any anxiety is kept to a minimum
- personalised care and support planning to help you to improve your health and wellbeing in the long-term
Progress is being made to implement these pathways for breast and prostate cancers and plans are in place to roll out to colorectal patients later in 2021.
On treatment and feeling unwell
If you are experiencing any side effects from your treatment or are feeling unwell, please contact acute oncology.
This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 020 7188 3754. 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.
During cancer treatment, many people become less active because of the effects of treatment. Maintaining or increasing your levels of physical activity can have health benefits and help to manage some of the side effects of treatment including tiredness, pain and nausea.
The cancer physiotherapy team at Guy's and St Thomas' have a range of expertise that can support symptoms that impact on your physical wellbeing or you becoming more active.
If you have any questions, please contact a member of the oncology physiotherapy team on 020 7188 9654, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.45pm, and leave a message. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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).
What we offer
We provide one-to-one therapy and group therapy sessions.
- 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
- 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
Issues you may experience because of treatment
The challenges of the disease and treatment (and its side effects) can impact on intimacy and the sexual aspects of your life.
Nausea or 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.
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.
Lymphoedema (build-up of fluid)
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
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.
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.
Some types of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and biological therapy drugs can cause changes in the lining of your mouth and make it very sore.
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