Sometimes people with cancer need urgent advice or care about treatment side-effects or other complications of cancer. We have specially trained staff who can provide expert advice.

If you feel very unwell during or after your cancer treatment, it is important to contact us straight away. Our specialist Hotline nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0800 169 5555

When to seek help

Call our Hotline straight away if:

  • You have a temperature over 37.5°C (99.5°F)
  • You suddenly feel unwell, even with a normal temperature
  • You have symptoms of an infection – these include feeling shivery and shaking; a sore throat; a cough; breathlessness; diarrhoea; needing to pee frequently or feeling pain or discomfort when you pee
  • Your temperature goes below 36°C (96.8°F)

Our Hotline nurses can assess your symptoms and offer expert advice on what to do next. Find out more about The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Hotline.

Urgent alert

Call 999 or go to A&E straight away if you have:


Our Hotline team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you need urgent advice or care related to your cancer treatment or diagnosis and:

  • You are currently having treatment from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, or
  • You finished your treatment with us in the last six weeks, or
  • You finished your immunotherapy with us in the last 12 months

Our Hotline is staffed by specialist cancer nurses who can provide expert advice. They are specially trained to help with complications of cancer and any side-effects from your treatment. They can also access any information they need from your cancer health records so they can provide the right advice.

You can call them for free any time on:

0800 169 5555

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call our Hotline using the Relay UK service.

If our Hotline team think you need further assessment, they will refer you to the right place. This could be:

  • Our Clinical Decisions Unit – more information below
  • NHS 111
  • Your GP
  • Community services in your local area – for example, an urgent community response (UCR) service or walk-in centre
  • Your local Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) unit
  • A hospital emergency department (sometimes known as ED or A&E)

Relay UK: Contacting Hotline if you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired

Cancer can affect anyone so it's really important our services are accessible to all. We know that communicating over the phone may be difficult if you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. That's why we work with Relay UK to make sure you can contact our Hotline when you need to.

For more information:

Clinical Decisions Unit

Our Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) specialises in urgent and emergency cancer care. The unit is open during the day from Monday to Friday and is based on Level 2 of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool (CCC-Liverpool).

Patients must be referred to the CDU by our Hotline team, their cancer care team, another team within The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre or their GP. 

Do not come directly to CDU – it might not be the right place for the care you need and that could be very serious.

Our CDU provides urgent assessment and initial treatment for people with cancer who have become unwell or developed complications that need urgent clinical assessment. 

These include:

  • Serious side-effects from treatment
  • Serious deterioration in their health related to their cancer diagnosis
  • Suspected or confirmed neutropenic sepsis
  • Suspected or confirmed metastatic spinal cord compression
  • Other complications from cancer or cancer treatment

Once patients have been assessed and had any immediate care needed, the CDU team will monitor their condition and arrange next steps. This could be:

  • Discharging people home if well enough
  • Admitting them to one of our inpatient wards
  • Discharging them to community-based care or intermediate (step-down) care
  • Transferring them to another hospital if they need care for conditions other than cancer

Sepsis is a very serious condition that can develop from an infection. Having cancer or being on some cancer treatments can affect the body’s ability to fight infections. This might make you more at risk of sepsis.

Neutropenic sepsis is sepsis caused because your immune system does not have enough of a particular type of white blood cells (neutrophils) to fight an infection. 

If you have symptoms of an infection, call our Hotline team straight away on 0800 169 5555. Do not delay. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Find out more about sepsis (Sepsis Trust).

When cancer spreads to the spine it can put pressure on the spinal cord that carried nerve signals between the brain and the body. 

This is called metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC). It is a serious condition and needs urgent assessment. Treatment usually needs to be given within 24 hours to prevent the worst effects. 

Call our Hotline on 0800 169 5555 immediately if you develop symptoms that could be metastatic spinal cord compression. Do not delay. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Symptoms that could be metastatic spinal cord compression include:

  • Problems controlling your bladder (incontinence) or passing little or no pee (urine)
  • Problems controlling your bowels (incontinence) or increasing constipation
  • Feeling unsteady on your feet, having difficulty walking
  • Weakness of hands (grip) or arms
  • Weakness of legs or your legs giving way
  • Numbness, a burning feeling or pins and needles in your arms or legs (limbs)
  • Pain that feels like a band around the chest or tummy (abdomen)
  • Pain that spreads into your arms or legs
  • Pain that spreads to your lower back, buttocks or legs
  • Pain in your neck or back that becomes severe 
  • Pain in the spine that gets worse when you move