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Cancer

Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

Bedford Hospital

The Primrose Unit

The oncology services at Bedford Hospital are based in the dedicated oncology unit: The Primrose Unit, which was funded by Bedford Hospitals Charity, in liaison with Macmillan Cancer Support and opened in 2003.

The unit provides a full complement of high quality, clinical and support services and is a cancer treatment unit with facilities to treat a wide range of cancers areas including breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, gastric, lymphoma and gynaecology. The Primrose Unit team is made up of seven consultants, three Chemotherapy Nurse Practitioners and a nursing team, all of whom work very closely with other departments within Bedford Hospital and with the radiology centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care and to offer a truly holistic service to all patients at each stage of their cancer journey.

Our Services

The Primrose Unit houses Bedford Hospital’s outpatient oncology service for cancer patients. New and follow-up patients with cancer are seen in one of the several clinics each week.

Chemotherapy, monoclonal antibody therapy and other anti-neoplastic agents are administered daily in the purpose built suite in the Primrose Unit by one of our specialist chemotherapy nurses, and supported by a phlebotomist in the unit.

The chemotherapy suite offers daily sessions (during weekdays), for oncology patients and shared care for haematology patients. It is attached to the outpatient clinic area allowing the nursing staff to work closely with all of the consultants, ensuring a first class, seamless service for all the patients. The Primrose Unit has its own phlebotomy service and a cancer information and support centre.

A scalp cooling system is also available which can be used to minimise chemotherapy induced alopecia. The unit also provides a PICC line service and 24hr telephone support line for chemotherapy patients. The unit also houses the palliative care team.

Patients requiring radiotherapy have their treatment carried out at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. Patients requiring surgery and other interventions are discussed in one of the multidisciplinary team meetings which are held each week, some of which are teleconferenced to other cancer centres including Cambridge.

Cancer Information and Support Service

The Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre was developed as a joint venture between Macmillan and the Primrose Oncology unit at Bedford Hospital in 2004, to ensure that people affected by cancer have access to comprehensive, appropriate information and support.

The centre is open from 9am–6pm Monday to Friday.

The service offers:

  • A drop in service for a wide range of information and support
  • Health, financial and life management advice
  • Referral to other healthcare professionals
  • Details of local and national support services and organisations
  • Details about complementary therapies and outreach sessions in the community

Staffed by:

  • Macmillan Information Co-ordinator – Anthony Gissane
  • Macmillan Information Assistant – Lourdes Longalong

Contact number 01234 792667.

Staff

Lead Cancer Nurse: Yvonne Jeffs

General Manager for Cancer and Palliative Care: Karen Jackson

Oncology consultants:

  • Dr Sarah Smith
  • Dr Ramesh Bulusu
  • Dr Robert Thomas
  • Dr Athar Ahmad
  • Dr Shahzeena Aslam
  • Dr Sana Sehar
  • Dr Margaret Hutka
  • Dr Muhammad Sabar

Palliative Care Consultants:

  • Dr Penny McNamara
  • Dr Tejal Shah

Clinical Nurse Specialists:

  • Breast cancer: Sarah Higgins, Hannah Lusty, Rachel Knight, Zara Roberts
  • Metastatic Breast cancer: Stephanie Thorpe
  • Colorectal cancer: Karen Richards, Karen Belfield-Cockings, Sophie Lath, Mel Crampton (Stoma care)
  • Lung cancer: Sue Jessop, Sherin Paul
  • Upper gastro-intestinal tract cancer: Eleanor Church, Jemma Matveev
  • Urological cancer: Maureen Daly, Niamh Lynch, Christina Jose, Maria Apostol
  • Gynaecology: Gail Burgess, Ruth Head, Ilona Goodfellow-Tarr
  • Head and neck cancer: Laura Kelly, Ian Salmon
  • Skin cancer: Natalie Allen, Sarah Morris, Laura Kelly
  • Haematology: Jenna Fallon, Alison York, Salma Bilkis
  • Lymphoma: Hayley Francis

Acute Oncology:

Caroline Barclay, Laura Gillespie, Tori (Victoria) Horne

Chemotherapy Nurse Practitioners:

Helen Cawood, Neil McKay, Rebecca Tellwright

Palliative Care Nurses:

Brigid Purcell (Practice Development Nurse Palliative Care), Alison Borromeo, Carol Whitby, Elaine Joseph, Pratima Patel, Naomi Galloway

Oncology Dietitians:

Cristina Testa, Hajera Khanom

Chemotherapy Nurses:

Unit Manager: Maryam Rasoolirad
Julie Ford, Sue O’Connor, Tammie Taylor, Kerry Gill, Shianne Becker, Charlotte Crowther, Jisha Thomas, Wendy Shepherd, Amelita Shepley, Hannah Jones, Amber Cullen, Nicholene Vassell

Clinical Support Workers:

Yvonne Jackson, Sam Vowles, Micky McNiffe, Rachel Fenney, Salma Chaudhry, Chi Chung Mak

Clinical Cancer Navigators:

Heather Telford – Colorectal
Vanessa Morris – Urology
Isabel Green – Upper GI and Gynaecology
Donna Woods – Breast
Rachel Ziccardi – Haematology
Kasia Pietrzak – Head and neck, and lung

Contact Us

To change or cancel an outpatient or chemotherapy appointment contact reception on (01234) 792652 or call the hospital switchboard on (01234) 355122 ext. 2350.

For advice regarding chemotherapy treatment contact 01234 792651 or via the hospital switchboard on (01234) 355122 ext. 2332.

Clinical Research

The Primrose Unit has a strong history of clinical research over the last 20 years in most of the tumour types. This includes national studies investigating new chemotherapy, hormone and biological treatments and radiotherapy regimes linked to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Trust.

We have a particular interest in investigating lifestyle and nutritional strategies which aim to help patients cope with side effects of treatments and improve their outcomes. The results of these studies, led by Professor Thomas have been presented across the world and published in numerous peer reviewed medical journals but most importantly have provided evidence based advice for patients and their relatives. These dietary studies are linked with organisations across the UK, in particular our local University of Bedfordshire.

If anyone wishes to find out more about these trials, please contact the Lead Researcher Madeleine.williams@bedsft.nhs.uk

Macmillan Cancer and Palliative Care Psychology Service

We are a specialist confidential psychological support service for patients and families affected by cancer, covering Luton and Bedfordshire. We offer consultations in a range of locations, including within the Bedford Primrose Unit, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and in non-hospital locations within Bedford, Luton and Dunstable.

Our service is provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Macmillan and Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust. See our Trust website for further links and self-help resources.

For more information on what we do please see our patient leaflet here.

We also have patient leaflets available in:

Meet the team

Dr Sara Rassool – Macmillan Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Marie Browne – Macmillan Family Psychotherapist

Dr Mary Keilty – Principle Macmillan Clinical Psychologist

Matt Hopton – Macmillan Specialist Psychotherapist

Dr Emma Cassidy – Principle Macmillan Clinical Psychologist

Dr Lisa Dvorjetz – Macmillan Counselling Psychologist

Our team focus exclusively on cancer and palliative care. We receive referrals from members of the clinical team for people with any cancer diagnosis, at any stage of their care, with any cancer-related psychological difficulties. We also welcome relatives, partners and carers to be referred.

How can I be referred?

Please talk to your clinical nurse specialist or key professional involved in your care (e.g. oncologist, chemotherapy practitioner, community Macmillan nurse) about being referred to the service.

Staff

DrAtharAhmad Consultant Medical Oncologist
ProfessorRobertThomas Consultant Oncologist
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) provides cancer and palliative care services to patients and their families.

The L&D consultants treat the following sites:
Breast, lung, colorectal, oesophageal and gastric, pancreatic, gynaecology, urology, haematology skin, head and neck and thyroid. We offer onward referral to other specialist hospitals, if required.

Oncology Services are provided by consultant staff from the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, taking part in combined clinics and multidisciplinary meetings with our hospital cancer teams.

The Supportive Care Service is based within the Macmillan Cancer Unit, where chemotherapy treatments are given.

Also based within the unit are Cancer Nurse Specialists, Macmillan Palliative Care Nurses and volunteers.

In addition the following services are available:

  • Patient information and Support Service – a full range of patient information booklets are available as well as access to the internet
  • Complementary Therapy Service and ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ (pampering therapy)
  • Psychology Service – psychological assessment and referral to the Macmillan Psychology Service is available
  • Welfare Benefits Advisor – a comprehensive assessment of financial needs can be undertaken
  • Lymphoedema clinics
  • Orthotics Service – wigs and prosthetics
  • Palliative care
  • Cancer and exercise program

The Cancer and Palliative Care Team work closely with local community teams to ensure patients and their families have continued supportive care in the home. Community teams work together with GPs, Macmillan Nurses, Community Matrons, Keech Hospice, Marie Curie, and Social Services.

To access the service contact your GP or Cancer Nurse Specialist, or contact the information and support service on 01582 718189

Cancer screening

Breast Screening Service – The Beds and Herts Breast Screening Service is based at the L&D.

We provide high quality screening and diagnostic services for women living in Luton, South Bedfordshire and parts of Hertfordshire.

Please see our Breast screening page for more information.

Bowel Screening Service

The L&D offers a full screening service for Luton, south Bedfordshire and parts of Hertfordshire and coordinates the programme in this area. Bowel Screening includes endoscopy services and specialist screening nurse clinics for people receiving an abnormal result.

The Cervical Screening Service

We offer comprehensive Cervical Screening Service for women referred by their local GP and provide follow-up investigations if required.

Macmillan Cancer and Palliative Care Psychology Service

We are a specialist confidential psychological support service for patients and families affected by cancer, covering Luton and Bedfordshire. We offer consultations in a range of locations, including within the Bedford Primrose unit, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and in non-hospital locations within Bedford, Luton and Dunstable.

See our Trust website for further links and self-help resources.

Meet the team

Dr Sara Rassool – Macmillan Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Marie Browne – Macmillan Family Psychotherapist

Dr Mary Keilty – Macmillan Clinical Psychologist

Matt Hopton – Macmillan Specialist Psychotherapist

Dr Emma Cassidy-Ingles – Macmillan Clinical Psychologist

Dr Lisa Dvorjetz – Macmillan Counselling Psychologist

Our team focus exclusively on cancer and palliative care. We receive referrals from members of the clinical team for people with any cancer diagnosis, at any stage of their care, with any cancer-related psychological difficulties. We also welcome relatives, partners and carers to be referred.

How can I be referred?

Please talk to your clinical nurse specialist or key professional involved in your care (eg oncologist, chemotherapy practitioner, community Macmillan nurse) about being referred to the service.

Staff

Dr KChiu Consultant Oncologist
DrSMawdsley Consultant Oncologist
DrPOstler Consultant Oncologist
DrARyan Consultant Oncologists
DrAnupVinayan Consultant Oncologist
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