8 February 2017

UCLH Cancer Collaborative has teamed up with the Fruit Fly Collective to launch a short animated film to advise parents with cancer on how to talk to their children about their diagnosis.

It is thought to be the first animated film of its kind and guides parents through discussing their cancer diagnosis with children of different ages, should they wish to.

By 2020, one in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Many of these people will be parents of dependent children – in 2016 there were 7.6 million families with dependent children in the UK.

Explaining a cancer diagnosis to their child is one of the hardest things a parent can do. But with the right support, children are very good at coping and talking to each other as a family can really help children at this difficult time.

The animation uses a cartoon family to give practical tips on telling children you have cancer. Evidence shows that adults respond positively to messages that may be frightening, sensitive or confusing when the information behind the messages is created in a comic-book like format. The animation has also been made into a comic-book for parents, and flyers informing people about the film will be distributed throughout the NHS in the London Cancer area.

Dr Mark Barrington, chair of the London Cancer Psychosocial Expert Reference Group and a consultant clinical psychologist, said:

“It is so important that people diagnosed with cancer receive the right psychological, as well as medical, support. For parents, this can be an especially difficult time and sometimes people are unsure whether or not to tell their children about their diagnosis at all. We were delighted to work with the Fruit Fly Collective to produce the first film of its kind offering clear, practical advice.”

Caroline Leek, director of the Fruit Fly Collective, said:

“When creating this film, we wanted to produce something that was accessible to every cancer patient, regardless of their cultural background, or level of health literacy. We decided to use animation as this format offers us a simple, easy to follow, method of getting the necessary message across, it is at once comforting and familiar to the patient, whilst at the same time allowing this very important information to be taken in and processed.“

Ginny Ludlow’s four children were aged between five and 15 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. Ginny, from Crouch End, said:

“My cancer diagnosis came as such a shock ten years ago. While trying to come to terms with the news, I remember the effect on my children was uppermost in my mind. I really wanted to protect them and I was anxious to find the best way and the right words to tell them what was happening. There weren’t any resources like this animation then and I had to go with my instinct to be open. I didn’t want them to worry too much but I was really pleased that I did explain things as we went along as I think this helped us all to get through the ups and downs of the next few months as a family.

“This animation would have been so useful and reassuring to me in many ways. My children were at such different stages of their lives (aged 5,10,13 and 15) and the film talks you through how different age groups might react and process information. I also remember feeling bad about sometimes getting upset in front of my children, but the animation explains that it is ok to cry as it can help children to understand that they can also show their emotions.”

Notes to editors

1. The animation is available on the Fruit Fly Collective website http://fruitflycollective.com/animations-health-education/ and the London Cancer Youtube Channel www.youtube.com/londoncancer
2. London Cancer is part of the UCLH Cancer Collaborative. We work with healthcare providers across north central and east London and west Essex to deliver comprehensive cancer care for patients from diagnosis, through treatment, to living with and beyond cancer.
3. The Fruit Fly Collective works with schools, hospitals, charities and local authorities to provide evidence-based practical solutions to problems that primarily surround the communication and understanding of health, using creative practices.
4. Twitter #cancertalk2yourkids

19 December 2016

NHS England has announced £6.9 million of new funding to support and spread the work of the national Cancer Vanguard.

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The Cancer Vanguard is a partnership between the UCLH Cancer Collaborative (which includes London Cancer and covers north central and north east London, and west Essex),

Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation and RM Partners (north west and south west London). Together we serve a population of over 10 million and we are working to change the way cancer care is provided. Vanguards are tasked with developing models of care that can be replicated across the NHS to improve patient outcomes and experience.

The UCLH Cancer Collaborative (including London Cancer) is currently focusing on a number of programmes, including earlier diagnosis of bowel and lung cancer, changing the way chemotherapy is provided and working with partners across our sector to improve cancer patient pathways of care.

Prof Geoff Bellingan, Medical Director, Surgery and Cancer, said:

“As a national Cancer Vanguard we are transforming earlier cancer diagnosis and trialling new care models for cancer patients, including through a series of partnerships with pharma companies to make better use of cancer drugs. We are also developing options for long term health system improvement, such as the prime provider model. We are working together to ensure that people can live well after a cancer diagnosis, as well as receiving high quality palliative and end of life care where appropriate.”

Roger Spencer, Chair of the Cancer Vanguard Board and Chief Executive of The Christie, said:

“Today’s announcement is hugely positive and a very tangible demonstration that the NHS leadership is prepared to invest in improving cancer patient outcomes and experience.

“Over the next year the support from the national vanguard programme will enable us to conclude our important programme of work, crystallising models that can be replicated and adopted throughout the NHS. The emergence of the new national Cancer Alliances presents an outstanding opportunity to cascade these models and achieve long term impact for patient benefit.”

Nicola Hunt, managing director, RM Partners, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding from NHS England. It will enable us to continue to improve the care of everyone affected by cancer and achieve world-class cancer outcomes for our population across London and Manchester.”

Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme said: “The vanguards are making great progress and have already made a tangible impact on the lives of patients and the working lives of staff. 2017/18 is a crucial year for the vanguards, in particular how we further spread their work across the wider NHS and care services. This funding, as well as the support we offer to them, will help them to continue to move at pace.”

Nationally, the total funding allocated to the national Cancer Vanguard is the same as 2016/17 levels and will be matched by funds and resources from the vanguards themselves. New models of care, including the work of the vanguards, are key to the delivery of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which are being developed across the country.

To secure funding, vanguards will need to meet a number of robust conditions – local evaluation remains a critical part of the programme and will be funded separately.

Read the full NHS England press release

Visit the UCLH cancer collaborative pages

31 August 2016

As London Cancer moves forward in its work to develop a world class cancer system that serves the population of North Central London, North East London, West Essex and beyond, the system will be coordinated by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) as the new system leader for cancer care from 1 September 2016.

London Cancer now forms a key pillar in the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, which itself is one of the three partners in the national Cancer Vanguard, along with Greater Manchester Cancer and RM Partners.   The UCLH Cancer Collaborative will drive forward a vision where patients are diagnosed faster and more efficiently, have a better chance of survival, have a better experience of care and are better informed and supported.

London Cancer brings the experience and success achieved by the partnership since it was established in 2012 to the UCLH Cancer Collaborative and will continue to drive improvements in patient outcomes and experience across the region.   The work undertaken by the London Cancer Pathway Boards and Expert Reference Groups will remain as essential as ever within the remit of the Vanguard, to drive delivery of new models of care and whole pathway improvements. The work of the boards, supported by the Centre for Cancer Outcomes, will continue to drive the use of best evidence-based practice, from prevention through to living with and beyond cancer or end of life care.

Updates about London Cancer’s work and progress will be shared in the usual ways and involvement by professionals and patients continues to be vital to the progress across the system.

London Cancer will continue to work with UCLPartners, its host since 2012, through programmes of work to improve the health and care of patients and the population.

If you would like any further details about the move to UCLH, please contact the team in the following ways:

7 June 2016

The half day event on 7 June 2016 combined the public launch of the UCLH Cancer Collaborative (part of the national cancer vanguard) and a review of the achievements of London Cancer over the last year.

The programme reflected the multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care and will included panel discussions with patient representatives, clinicians, commissioners and key cancer charities.

You can download the full presentations below and London Cancer‘s annual review 2015/16.

26 April 2016

London Cancer have been working with the Transforming Cancer Services Team, Healthy London Partnership and London Cancer Alliance to develop pan-London suspected cancer referral forms, referral criteria and supporting clinical information. These forms are now available to download from the My Health London website.

The new electronic referral forms are available for EmisWeb, SystmOne (Integrated, Non-integrated), Vision and DXS. All forms contain the updated guidelines from NICE published in 2015 (NG12) as well as additional tumour specific referral criteria and deviations which have been agreed for the London area.

In addition to the referral forms, educational support materials and patient information leaflets can also be downloaded from the My Health London website.

For further information please contact the Transforming Cancer Services Team at SECSU.tcstlondon@nhs.net.

7 March 2016

Kathy Pritchard JonesIn a study led by Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Chief Medical Officer of London Cancer, it has been found that the UK diagnoses Wilms’ tumours – the most common children’s kidney cancer – at a later stage than Germany. It was found that Wilms’ tumours diagnosed in the UK were one and a half times bigger than those diagnosed in Germany.

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK, compared statistics for more than 1,500 children diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour and treated in the UK and Germany between 2002 and 2011. GP records were also reviewed to see how Wilms’ tumours were detected in 360 children from Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

Different childhood healthcare systems in both countries are predicted by the researchers to be the reason behind this late diagnosis. In the UK GPs are the first port of call for a parent who is concerned about their child whereas in Germany children are looked after by paediatricians who work in the community and children have many more routine health checks in early childhood.

Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones said: “Our study shows that the UK is diagnosing children with Wilms’ tumours at a later, more advanced stage than our German counterparts. Finding cancers at an early stage means that treatment is more likely to be successful and have fewer side effects, but the way the UK health system looks after children means we’re missing chances for earlier detection. This could affect children’s health not just in cancer but across the board. We need further consideration of how paediatric expertise in primary care for children can be strengthened and further research to see if we could be giving more children a better chance.”

Read the full study in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

11 February 2016

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is leading the way in improving lung cancer care for patients. Dr Sam Hare, consultant thoracic radiologist, has developed an innovative technique for carrying out lung biopsies. Use of this technique means that patients are able to leave hospital just 30 minutes after undergoing the test compared with the four hour stay usually required. Use of this new technique has enabled the service to increase the number of biopsies it performs, increasing early access for patients to the latest lung cancer treatments.

The development of this technique by Dr Hare has been awarded the Innovation Challenge Prize. The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust will receive £100, 000 as a result, as well as support to develop the innovation further.

25 January 2016

We are delighted to announce that Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of London Cancer, will be joining UCLH as CMO of the UCLH cancer vanguard. Professor Pritchard-Jones will be responsible for the clinical leadership and will be an integral part of the future vanguard governance board and will retain her role as CMO London Cancer, the integrated cancer system for north central and north east London and west Essex, which strives to improve health outcomes and experience of people with cancer. She will lead London Cancer’s further development as a key component of the cancer vanguard. UCLPartners will continue to support London Cancer and its ongoing programmes of work funded by Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and Camden CCG.

Dr Geoff Bellingan, Medical Director at UCLH said, “The cancer vanguard is an exciting opportunity to take the work of London Cancer to the next level. Currently, survival is poor in London, cancer patients are diagnosed too late and receive inconsistent quality of care. The Vanguard will help us tackle these problems and bring about lasting improvements for our population.”

27,000 Londoners are diagnosed with cancer every year and this is predicted to rise by 2% annually to more than 32,000 by 2022. The Cancer Vanguard will increase earlier diagnosis, reduce delays and improve patient experience and outcomes for a population of ~3.5million.

17 December 2015

National charity Pancreatic Cancer UK has today announced funding of £18,000 to a research team based at London Cancer and Medefer, which will seek to develop a tool to help diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier.

Professor Steve Pereira, Dr Andrew Millar and their team aim to develop an online questionnaire, which people would use to describe their own abdominal symptoms such as stomach pain, a common early symptom of pancreatic cancer. The year-long project will be based at London Cancer, a partnership of NHS, academic, charity and cancer specialists, and supported by Medefer.

The online questionnaire will be tested in clinics and new diagnostic centres where people with abdominal symptoms are referred by their GP. Patients will be asked to fill in the questionnaire giving their take on their own symptoms, which consultants at the centres will then look at along with information from the patient’s GP. The hope is that this will aid the clinician in making a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer sooner or for the disease to be ruled out for a different diagnosis to be made.

The ultimate hope is that if successful, the research could then lead to the development of an effective online diagnostic tool to help GPs navigate patients to the right diagnostic tests sooner. Earlier diagnosis of disease, including pancreatic cancer, would mean patients would be more likely to live for longer.

The announcement of the grant comes after NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) launched new guidance to help GPs achieve early diagnosis, in June 2015.

Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed at a point when the disease has spread, which often means that surgery, the only curative treatment, is not an option.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, yet receives only 1.4% of the total cancer research spend in the UK. The disease has the worst survival rate of all the 21 most common cancers in the UK, with just four per cent of patients surviving for five years or more.

The grant has been made as part of Pancreatic Cancer UK’s innovative new Clinical Pioneer Awards Scheme, which funds research in a clinical setting by surgeons, nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals. The Scheme funds research into improvements in existing care and emerging treatments, with the aim of improving care for current patients as well as those diagnosed in the future.

Dr Millar said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Pancreatic Cancer UK as one of the first recipients of this new type of research grant. The Clinical Pioneer Awards Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for clinicians who already work in the field to make a positive contribution in improving the care and support provided to pancreatic cancer patients, carers and families.

“We believe the development of our online questionnaire – with the support of our Clinical Pioneer Award – has the potential to bring real benefit to patients and healthcare professionals alike at the start of their initial investigations and subsequent patient experience. Small projects such as this traditionally may not be eligible for standard research grants – but still have the potential to make a big difference.”

Dr Bahman Nedjat-Shokouhi, Managing Director of Medefer said: “Pushing the boundaries of medicine increasingly requires innovative approaches to research and closer collaboration between NHS, academia and industry. Medefer has been founded and is led by clinicians and academics to innovate within healthcare and push the boundaries of our medical knowledge. It is a privilege to be a partner in this research that is supported by Pancreatic Cancer UK.”

Alex Ford, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “We are very excited to be funding this research in London, which we hope will allow more people with pancreatic cancer to live for longer. Tragically, the disease has shocking survival rates, with just four per cent of people living for five years or more after diagnosis.

“But we know the sooner people are diagnosed, the longer they are likely to live. This research could ultimately help to change the prognosis of the disease and that is why it is so important.

“We are also delighted that Steve and Andrew, as physicians, will be leading this project and will join the other healthcare professionals whose research our Clinical Pioneer Awards are funding. In our ongoing quest to improve treatment and care for pancreatic cancer patients, we believe it is vital to harness the expertise of everyone who supports people with the disease, and this scheme is an innovative way of doing that.”

Pancreatic Cancer UK awarded four other grants under the Clinical Pioneer Awards Scheme, to researchers and clinicians based at institutions throughout the UK, including Manchester, Leicester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Find out more about Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Clinical Pioneer Awards.

16 December 2015

Dr Afsana Bhuiya, GP Improvement Lead for London Cancer, recently delivered a presentation at the Travel Health and Cancer NICE Guidelines Event where she explained London Cancer’s quality improvement project, which focuses on coding and safety netting.

London Cancer together with Macmillan have produced a guide for GPs on good quality coding and safety netting. Dr Bhuiya has been working with GPs within the London Cancer geography, delivering training on the benefits of coding and the use of the QCancer tool.

In this short video Dr Bhuiya describes the topic of her presentation and the quality improvement work of London Cancer.