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New holistic clinic for lung cancer patients
A ‘HOLISTIC’ lung cancer clinic is being piloted in Buckinghamshire to help patients cope with the emotional impact of the disease.
The new nursing clinic at Stoke Mandeville Hospital is the first of its kind in the Thames Valley area – acknowledging that the effects of lung cancer go far beyond the physical consequences.
It is led by specialist nurses, and offers patients the opportunity to talk about how their diagnosis and treatment has affected them in their day-to-day lives.
Patients can then be given information about additional help including a support group, complementary therapies, benefits support, dietary advice or referral to a clinical psychologist.
Jeanette Tebbutt, Macmillan consultant lead cancer nurse at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "If diagnosed, we know that coping with lung cancer goes far beyond dealing with just the physical impacts of the disease.
"It is equally important to address how cancer impacts on all aspects of a person’s life such as relationships, finances and how they are coping emotionally."
Patients are offered an appointment at the clinic four to six weeks after diagnosis, and it runs once a week from the Cancer Care and Haematology Unit at Stoke Mandeville.
The pilot will be reviewed on completion in April, with a view to rolling out across other cancer services if successful.
Symptoms of lung cancer can include: Unexplained tiredness or lack of energy; a cough that doesn’t go away; unexplained breathlessness; chest infections; unexplained weight loss; chest and/or shoulder pains; a long standing cough that gets worse; hoarse voice; coughing up blood.
If individuals show any of these symptoms for more than three weeks, they should visit their GP straight away. In many cases it is most likely nothing serious, but if it is lung cancer, then early diagnosis and treatment can save lives.