Feature BMJ Awards 2014

Cancer Care Team

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2824 (Published 24 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2824
  1. Anne Gulland, freelance journalist
  1. 1London, UK
  1. annecgulland{at}yahoo.co.uk

The Cancer Care Team award honours an innovative project or initiative that has improved cancer for patients or their carers, or that has made an impact on a wider population basis. Anne Gulland describes the teams

All cancer teams work hard to ensure that patients have the best and most compassionate treatment—this award honours teams that have gone even further.

Papworth Hospital Mesothelioma Team

The incidence of mesothelioma, a malignancy of the pleural cavity, is rising and is expected to peak at around 2500 new cases a year by 2020. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, which was not banned as a building material in the UK until 1999.

Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic treatment centre, sees around 50 new cases a year, one of the highest numbers in the UK. Around 15 years ago, the hospital set up a specialised service because doctors began to realise that the needs of patients with mesothelioma were distinct from those with other thoracic cancers.

These needs include guidance and support in obtaining compensation because patients have developed the disease through industrial exposure. There have also been developments in treatments to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. And patients and their carers often require symptom control explicitly tailored to their needs. “The service developed because the patients we were being asked to see and help had a very different and defined need from other lung cancer patients. We wanted to develop something more attuned to them,” says clinical oncologist David Gilligan.

When patients are referred to the service they enter a rapid access investigation programme, designed to diagnose with as few investigations as possible. Treatment options include talc pleurodesis or surgical video-assisted thoracoscopic partial pleurectomy. Patients are given the opportunity to join clinical trials, including the multi-centre MesoVATS study, co-ordinated at …

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