Welcome to the NGOC. We are all here to support you throughout your journey as a patient under our care.
For some patients this journey starts before a diagnosis has been reached, when there is a possibility of a suspected cancer of the female genital tract.
The final diagnosis may or may not turn out to be cancer. For other patients this journey begins with a diagnosis of cancer of the womb/ ovaries/ tubes/ cervix/ vagina/ vulval skin, which has been made elsewhere in the region.
You may have already been seen in your local hospital in the North-East and Cumbria by a Gynaecologist or another specialist doctor, before being referred to the NGOC. You may already have had tests, such as scans or a biopsy.
For the next part of your journey to be planned, information on your care from your referring hospital is given to the NGOC team and discussed at a weekly meeting of the regional Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting.
The MDT is made up of Gynae oncology surgeons – who specialise in cancer surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy doctors, pathology doctors and radiology doctors (specialists in X-Rays and scans) along with all the regional clinical nurse specialists.
Following referral, the MDT may recommend further tests for you, before you are seen in the NGOC clinic. These tests may include
- Blood tests
- More scans.
These extra tests will help the NGOC team plan the best treatment options for you. Treatment options may include;
Support and further information are available from your local clinical nurse specialists from your local hospital or from the NGOC clinical nurse specialists during this time (See contact details)
During your clinic appointment at the NGOC at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, you will meet a doctor along with a Nurse – (either member of the NGOC Clinic Nursing Team or a Clinical Nurse Specialist nurse).
At the first appointment, it is important for us to find out more about you.
This includes the details of your all your medical problems, your situation, your wishes and your concerns. This will help us to plan further tests and to discuss the treatment options suitable for you. This will help us plan for your personal patient journey, so that we can fully support you in a holistic way.
If surgery is part of your treatment plan, you will be then seen by an anaesthetist. This doctor will assess your fitness for an operation under General Anaesthetic. This pre-operative assessment clinic appointment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, may be on the same day as your NGOC Clinic appointment, or it may be at a later date.
If surgery at NGOC is for you, you will be provided with a provisional date for an operation with a named consultant, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. These provisional dates may change. Some patients may be offered an earlier or later date or an alternative consultant, depending on availability. These changes would always be communicated to you.
The details of your operation will be discussed with you and a written consent form will be completed beforehand. Further discussions about the type of anaesthetic and types of pain relief will take place at the pre-operative assessment clinic. You will also receive personalised advice about how to prepare for your operation and anything you may need to bring to the hospital on the day.
Usually, you will be asked to arrive, fasting, on the day of your surgery via the Peter Smith Surgery Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. You will be taken into the “PODS” patient-cubicle waiting area for pre-operation checks. Alternatively, it may necessary to ask you to attend our ward, the night before surgery.
After a minor operation, you will usually go back to the PODS, prior to discharge home. Otherwise, you will be taken to our specialist female ward in the Peter Smith Surgery Centre for the recovery part of your stay. Some patients may also need a short stay on a more intensive recovery ward such as our High Dependency Unit.
On our ward, you will be supported in your recovery by our specialist nurses, physiotherapists and health care team. If you need extra support – such as with your diet or planning help at home with the Occupational Therapy team, this will be organised for you.
We will make plans for your discharge ahead of time. If you have concerns about managing at home after an operation, please tell us beforehand, so that we have plenty of time to organise a package of individualised care for you.
We will continue to care for you, after your operation and throughout your recovery. On your discharge, we will explain the plans for telling you the final results (of analysis of the tissue removed) to you. We will also help to coordinate your care at home- such as wound dressings. You will also receive a follow-up clinic appointment date- either at your local hospital (e.g. in Cumbria) or back with us at the NGOC clinic. Lastly, we will provide you with our Contact details once again. This information will be provided to you and your GP in writing.
The NGOC has four Clinical Nurse Specialists (key workers) – (Yvonne Anderson, Helen Manderville, Julie Dodds and Laura Clifford) as well as local regional Clinical Nurse specialists (CNS), who work as part of our team in looking after you, throughout your patient journey.
They offer supportive care and advice to patients which could include:
- Information about the illness
- Emotional support and symptom management
- Financial advice regarding benefits and grants
- Disease related problems e.g. sexual health and fertility
Yvonne, Helen, Julie and Laura, or your local CNS can be contacted through the nurse or doctor looking after you, alternatively you may prefer to telephone/email them directly and arrange to see them at the Queen Elizabeth hospital (see contact details).