(For treatment side effects and complications only)
Posted 13th July 2023
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre hosted its first Immuno-oncology (IO) Education Day in July, hosting delegates from the cancer community across the country to learn more about immunotherapy and toxicity management from our specialist team.
An innovative form of cancer treatment, immunotherapy administered to treat melanoma. The treatment effectively harnesses the body's own immune system to target and kill cancer cells and whilst effective, can cause serious side effects. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre now treats more patients using immunotherapy than any other cancer hospital in the country.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is the first Trust in the country to have a dedicated Toxicity Management Team, who identify and treat the side effects caused by immunotherapy. The team was established five years ago and it's their role to keep patients well whilst going through immunotherapy treatment and avoid them having to go to hospital unnecessarily. They also provide advice and support to other clinical teams if someone comes to them suffering with a potential side effect of cancer treatment.
Trudy-Jane Guinan from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is the first Nurse Consultant in Immuno-Oncology in the country. She said:
"When receiving immunotherapy, people are monitored extremely closely as something called immune related toxicity can happen and here at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre we set up a dedicated nursing team, supported by a Consultant Oncologist Dr Anna Olsson-Brown, four years ago to help identify any side effects and manage them as soon as possible.
“By working slightly differently and having this dedicated team in place, we have been able to quickly diagnose side effects, treat them and prevent around 40% of admissions due to these immune related toxicities. By identifying these toxicities early we have also been able to reduce the amount of patients potentially having their cancer treatment delayed.”
“As the first dedicated Nurse Consultant in Immuno-Oncology in the country, much of my time is spent training my colleagues and staff in delivering immunotherapies, recognising and managing any side effects and understanding what more we can do to improve patient experience.
Trudy continues: "As pressure on cancer services continues to increase, we see more people and the need to provide new and innovative treatments increases, so finding new ways of working like this is absolutely vital to patient care and delivering world-class services.
“Much of the immuno-oncology service is delivered over the phone, with specially trained nurses being able to identify any potential side effects earlier than if the patient had waited until their next appointment to mention it . Our study day helped expand our teams' knowledge and it was amazing to see so much interaction and discussion going on for the benefit of our patients.”
“The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre really is at the forefront of delivering immunotherapy and I look forward to developing the service even further alongside this amazing group of people.”
Immunotherapy Project Support Manager Nick Garbutt added: "The aim of the day was to improve knowledge and awareness of immune related side effects in order to support patients undergoing immunotherapy, therefore promoting a positive patient experience.
"We were delighted to be able to hold a study day face-to-face. It was an exciting and interactive day for all involved and we're already looking forward to the next one!"