Consequences of Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatment is often invasive and can have both short and longer term consequences, some of which may arise several years after treatment was administered.
The consequences of cancer treatment can include:
- incontinence (bowel and bladder)
- sexual difficulties
- cardiovascular disease
- psychological problems
A failure to identify and manage these problems effectively can compromise survival, quality of life for both patient and their carers, recovery, patient experience and patient safety.
“I’m thankful the surgery allowed me to live. I try to remember that when debilitating pain makes me want to die” (man, after prostate cancer treatment)
Latest estimates are that up to 500,000 people have unmet needs in relation to long term consequences of their cancer treatment, and this number will increase due to improvements in survival rates. The challenge for the NCSI is to provide evidence of the scale and nature of these unmet needs, along with evidence that there are effective interventions to improve outcomes for patients. Macmillan Cancer Support is working with expert advisors, researchers, the Dept of Health, NHS commissioners and providers, NHS Improvement and NCAT to develop this evidence.
The NCSI Programme of Work
The NCSI Consequences of Treatment workstream is led by Professor Jane Maher, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre and Chief Medical Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support. It is currently managed by Lesley Smith, NCSI/Macmillan Cancer Support.
The workstream covers three main areas:
- Identifying the Problem – improving and applying our knowledge about the scale and nature of consequences of treatment
- Empowering Patients and Influencing Healthcare Professionals - improving education and awareness of consequences of treatment amongst patients, carers and professionals
- Developing services – evaluating and promoting practical changes to NHS services so that people with consequences of cancer or its treatment get the specialist help they need
Our current priority is cancers of the pelvic area, due to the significant numbers of people affected, and the severity of effect on some people’s quality of life. The learning gained through this Pelvic Cancers Project will influence approaches to dealing with consequences of treatment for other tumour areas.
The workstream also supports the work of the Consequences of Cancer Treatment collaborative (CCaT), a unique collaborative community of 11 senior research-active nurses and one physiotherapist, who are committed to developing and evaluating innovative assessment methods and interventions, to address the physical, psychological and social consequences of cancer treatment.
Last updated on November 16, 2012