The first ever package of information for patients diagnosed with one of Scotland's most common cancers is being launched today in Glasgow.
The Managed Clinical Network for Upper Gastro-Intestinal (Upper GI) Cancers has spent several months compiling a series of booklets for patients who suffer from cancer of the oesophagus (or gullet), stomach and pancreas. Covering every stage of the treatment process from diagnosis onwards, the package has been compiled by a team of nurses and other specialist health care professionals from across the West of Scotland.
Common procedures undergone by Upper GI cancer patients are explained, treatment options are outlined and details are provided about possible outcomes for patients. The book contains up-to-date advice and information, and is underpinned by established research and accepted best practice.
Nurse Heather Hodgson is based at NHS Greater Glasgow's Gartnavel General Hospital, and works exclusively with Upper GI cancer patients. She helped put together the information, and believes it is sorely needed: "The West of Scotland has one of the worst records in Europe for Upper GI cancers, but patients here have never had this kind of support provided for them before. When you're told you have cancer, it's obviously very shocking and can take a while to sink in, but then you tend to have lots of questions you need answered - and that's been a big gap up until now.
"This is a bit of a "forgotten" cancer. People who are unlucky enough to be diagnosed with some other conditions will find plenty of answers to their questions, but people who have Upper GI cancers can find it a lot more difficult.
Patients have also played an important role in designing the book, which is specifically intended to be tailored to each individual's needs. Different booklets are provided for patients, depending on where he or she may be in the treatment process and at what stage their treatment may be.
The package of information also provides space for patients to list their own questions and concerns. "We thought that was really important. While we've done our best to provide all the details we think people can possibly need to know, there will always be worries that patients have which are specific to them.
"It can be quite intimidating to have to take in a lot of facts all at once, so being able to make a note of all these things as you go along lets you be sure you'll get the answers you need.
"We hope that putting the Patient Information Book together will play a big part in helping our patients cope at what can be a very frightening time of their lives."
Notes for Editors
* The Patient Information Book is being officially launched this afternoon (Tuesday 28th March) at an event in Glasgow attended by staff, patients and other healthcare professionals and sponsored by the oesophageal cancer charity OCHRE.
* For more information contact Annalena Winslow at NHS Greater Glasgow Communications on 0141 201 4447.