Management of the Consequences of Cancer and its Treatment in Primary Care

Management of the Consequences of Cancer and its Treatment in Primary Care

Introduction

Times are changing. Cancer is changing. The number of people surviving 10 years or over past their original cancer diagnosis is accelerating. However, the quality of life (QoL) of these patients/survivors is far from a life of ease; as it is during this time that patients can face the unfortunate consequences of their cancer and their treatment. These consequences are often overlooked and can have a significantly negative impact on the well-being of the individual.

My name is Sabrina, and I am a Research Scientist at Future Genetics.

Last week, I attended one of the key NHS Primary Care conferences, which was held at the National Exhibition Center.

I attended several interesting talks, and there was one that stood out in particular.

NAPC Annual Conference 2018 

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, a Macmillan National Lead GP Adviser, spoke at the NAPC Annual Conference 2018  last week regarding the ‘Management of the consequences of cancer and its treatment in Primary Care’. He began by telling the audience about his late mother’s cancer journey; including the screening, diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and follow up treatment. Although his mother managed to beat both breast and bowel cancer, the life she led following her treatment was extremely poor.She was offered limited support and the GP was not fully aware of how the cancer, despite being gone, was still affecting her life.

Quality of Life

Raising awareness of the importance and the extent of these consequences of cancer can have a great impact on the understanding and care provided by primary care teams and consequently the QoL of cancer patients/survivors.

For this to happen, primary care teams must consider not only the physical needs of the patient, such as managing unwanted side effects, co-existing conditions or risk of recurrence. They should also consider the practical and personal needs, such as; mobility, cooking and personal care.

Presently, these needs are often unmet due to several reasons, for example; lack of clear communication between primary care and patients or limited knowledge or confidence in identifying and managing the consequences of cancer/treatment.

Time for change

Patients deserve to have a decent QoL and just as with any other condition, a better understanding is a step forward towards more effective care.

At Future Genetics we are focusing on a number of key disease areas, including cancer, given the devastating consequences of these illnesses.

Pictured: Sabrina Bolia (Future Genetics Research Scientist) at the NAPC Annual Conference 2018

Collaborating to improve NHS patient outcomes

Collaborate and Thrive – how to improve NHS patient outcomes by delivering better medical technologies 

The Challenge 

The NHS continues to take great strides in making a significant contribution to improving the wellness of a population that (at the same time) continues to increase in size and complexity. This introduces challenges to both public and private sector organisations and systems to meet the patient needs and demands. 

 

The challenges on the healthcare system can be addressed in a number of ways. This includes strategies that further improve on preventing disease, with a focus on bridging differences in health inequalities. Another key approach is the need to understand gaps and differences in the care, and quality of different patient populations.

The Opportunity

A key strategy that could add to the armamentarium of healthcare professionals would be to utilise new technology that could facilitate improving health outcomes in the UK population in the form of earlier diagnosis, better health as we age, and improved recovery from illnesses and medical interventions.

 

Clinical technologies need to be developed and appropriately tested for their effectiveness in delivering on their given promise in a timely manner. The process of research and development (R&D) can be a long one. As a matter of fact the vast majority of R&D companies striving to develop new medical technologies are indeed Small to Medium sized companies.

 

Transitioning from concept, research programmes, and testing can be daunting and a challenge. This has been realised by the UK Government and there has been significant investment to support Research companies to deliver on new and exciting medical technology that can lead to better healthcare for all.

 

Representing Future Genetics, I attended the launch event of the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC). It was chaired by the former UK Home Secretary for the Labour Government, Jacqui Smith, who is now the Chair of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

  The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith (Chair University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Mohammed Kamran (CEO, Future Genetics)

Pictured: The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith (Chair University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Mohammed Kamran (CEO, Future Genetics)

 

There is a need to have an infrastructure in place to accelerate and bring to market technologies. The function of this newly purpose-built MD-TEC site is to help expedite the transition of clinically innovative technologies from the research bench through to medical utility. This would facilitate streamlining delivery for the benefit of NHS patients and the wider UK population.

 

Many research organisations do not have the full gamut of resources to deliver on goals. Therefore, multi-disciplinary collaboration by Research companies with NHS sites and other research and specialist organisations such as MD-TEC is critical.

 

The MD-TEC site provides state-of-the art facilities for Research companies. During a tour of the facility I was able to see the “pre-patient” set-up that allowed for testing of novel medical technologies and devices. This included a functioning operating theatre, A&E, and ICU facility to test technologies and devices on highly sophisticated “dummies”. Thus any unnecessary human trials or studies can be avoided. In addition, this would also facilitate the design of even better downstream clinical studies.

 

Future Genetics improving NHS patient outcomes

A functioning surgical theatre with a responsive dummy to test the robustness of medical technologies before the start of any human studies (NHS patient outcomes).

 

Future Genetics

Hospital bed with monitoring technologies to help validate novel medical devices and technologies (NHS patient outcomes)

The Solution

The concerted effort by government bodies; organisations such as Innovate UK, SBRI, and the NIHR i4i; charities including Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation; different Academic Science Networks across the country (with the WMAHSN being the closest to me); and different NHS Trusts to support innovative research and inter-disciplinary collaboration can only be good for NHS patients and the wider UK population.

 

Dr Mohammed Kamran

Future Genetics.