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Does it make a difference where you have your chemo or radiology?

(14 Posts)
worriedandsad Sat 28-May-11 21:52:29

I am collating info on this needed urgently. I ask this question because someone I know that has just had nearly 9 months of chemo and radiology for breast cancer (successfully thank goodness) insisted that she had his in central London (I think somewhere near Harley Street or may be the London Clinic - not quite sure) rather then having this in a local private hospital as she did just did not trust the treatemnet to be as good there.

Do you think there is something in this or is it just rubbish? Is one chemo session the same as another? Is "how" it is done important? And if there is some truth in this and you could go anywhere to be treated where would you go? Thanks very much

Lindax Sat 28-May-11 22:18:08

when my mum had a rare form of cancer our local hospital in Scotland started her on a programme of low dose chemo (tablet form). We managed to get her a referral to the Royal Free in Hampstead that specialised in her type of cancer and they immediately stopped the low dose treatment and started her on intravenous high dose chemo. They said if she had continued the treatment our local hospital had recommended after a period of time the high dose chemo would not have been an option.

The local hospital performed the chemo with instruction from the Royal Free and mum visited the Royal Free every few months so they could monitor her progress and adjust her treatment if neccessary.

I dont think it made a difference where the chemo as admistered, but the difference was correctly identifying the type of treatment that was needed/could be performed.

I believe the Royal Free's treatment plan saved my mums life.

triplets Sat 28-May-11 23:12:37

I fully agree, its getting the right chemo for you and being comfortable in the unit you are having it. My husband has been on/off chemo for three years now and touch wood so far hasresponded well, been advised well and been very well looked after.

lisad123 Sat 28-May-11 23:40:14

think its always best to see the "specialist" in your cancer. Dh has his treatment from local hospital but see's london specilaist and see's the head of research himself. The local hospital werent great and failed to start new chemo as quick as they should as old chemo didnt work sad

bettypage Mon 30-May-11 22:10:48

Hi, I asking for my Mum.
How do you find the specialist in the first place?
Very interesting topic and one that I hadn't considered.
Many thanks x

worriedandsad Tue 31-May-11 05:48:26

I don't know bettypage hence the post., Several posters on here have sent me links to helpful things but effectively once you know what the diagnosis if you try and find where the experts are in it - google it etc.

triplets Tue 31-May-11 06:09:52

Goodmorning WAS, did you look at that site I found?

worriedandsad Tue 31-May-11 06:18:40

Yes I did thanks and have passed it on. I am not sure if it would be best treated there (Stanmore seem to where they seem to be where the bone people are rather than the oncologists) or the Royal Marsden. I suspect whoever can see them first. They are off first thing this morning for tests etc and they will be called or be visited with the results later. I feel really sick here so goodness knows what they feel like.

nooka Tue 31-May-11 06:18:52

The most important thing for cancer treatment (in fact for any medical treatment) is that you should be seen by someone who specializes in that area. For a relatively common cancer like breast cancer you shouldn't have to go very far afield, whereas for something unusual you might need to go to a regional or possibly national centre. Both chemo and radiotherapy are quite tough on your body so long journeys are not ideal if you are on a long course with many treatments, but as Lindax says for chemo there are often shared care protocols in place where treatment can be initiated and monitored by the specialist but administered by a local team.

I would suspect that most cancer treatment is not carried out in the private sector, so the local hospital might not have had the expertise that your friend was looking for, or she wanted to be under a particular consultant.

For advice I'd start with your GP, or maybe contact your local cancer network (NB I'm not entirely sure what the networks do as I left the NHS a few years ago now) you should find contact details here: www.cancer.nhs.uk/networks.htm

worriedandsad Tue 31-May-11 06:28:03

Nooka - thanks for taking the time to post. Nearly all the people I know have had their cancer care privately - I don't know anyone who has n't. This does not mean it is better - in fact it may well not be - I imagine that teaching hospitals re very good at treatment. I think it was just that they wanted to be seen and treament started immediately not to wait even a few weeks if time is of the essense. The local hospital to him are poor - one scored the worse in the country I think so in any event I think travel wil be needed whether NHS or private. Will check out your link though. Thanks for your input.

nooka Tue 31-May-11 07:00:25

Oh my mother has just had her (fourth) hip replacement in a very posh private hospital so I have no problem with people being treated privately. When you are feeling rotten a bit of spoiling doesn't go amiss either. The volume of specialist care provided by the unit is something I would look at if possible though, ideally you want to know how many people they treated and their success (survival rates), although units that manage more difficult cases will have different outcomes, so really you want to know how many 'people like me' have done well.

I used to work with a brain surgeon who informed his patients not only the average success for their type of operation, but also how many times he had personally performed their sort of surgery and the outcomes. I thought that was fantastic, although they were obviously quite scary operations.

worriedandsad Tue 31-May-11 09:22:23

What a sensible thing to ask - I had n't thought of that. Thank you very much Nooka

KurriKurri Tue 31-May-11 12:03:18

Its a very hard choice - when you have cancer or someone close to you has, I know from experience you are terrified of making the 'wrong' choice.

I echo what others have said about the type of cancer being very relevant - if it's something rare you really need an expert in that area.

I had all my treatment (breast cancer) at my local NHS hospital, my oncologist is one of the top people in his field, and I trust him completely - which is very important. Chemo is what it is - if you are having exactly the same drugs then it doesn't really matter where you have them.

Advantages of a local hospital are - less travelling, easier to get to your chemo unit if you have problems between treatments (and you often do) - same again if you have to be admitted to the cancer ward (also quite common) - they have all you notes, its near at hand, you can get there quickly if necessary and your family can visit easily.

I honestly believe the treatment you get on the NHS is as good as anything else. I know people with exactly the same type of BC as me who had private treatment - they had exactly the same treatment.

dilligaf123 Fri 03-Jun-11 07:31:24

I had my breast cancer treatment at the Harley Street Clinic where all the oncologists radiographers surgeons and support staff are under one roof - there was no mucking about - no long waits - immediate answers and much support was given. The MacMillan trust is also in the building, and they are wonderful. Chemotherapy infusions are the same anywhere - its the expertise of the oncologist in choosing the right drugs that is the most important thing - and no not every leading oncologist is in London obviously - however in my case -triple negative - it was important to have someone that was experienced in this field- not all of them are - and for me that was in London. It is important to have trust in your oncologist and know that they will refer you to the best people who specialise in the specific cancer

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