What to expect on your cancer journey

Cancer care is an integral part of the services provided within the Northern Trust. The most visible part of cancer care is the chemotherapy unit situated in Laurel House at Antrim Area Hospital but the patient journey starts long before that.

The journey may start from GP referral, visiting the hospital, having investigations, for example, x-rays, special blood tests, biopsies or surgery. When a cancer diagnosis is made, it is managed within specific tumour sites, for example, breast, upper GI, head and neck. A management plan is drawn up for each patient by the consultant after discussion with colleagues at a multidisciplinary team meeting.

There are several ways to manage and treat cancer, for example, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Most surgery is provided within the Trust hospitals however transfer to another trust, e.g. the Belfast Trust, may be needed for more specialist surgery. Chemotherapy may be given in Laurel House, Antrim Hospital or in the Belfast City Hospital. Radiotherapy can only be given in the Cancer Centre at the Belfast City Hospital.

Information and support is available at each step in this journey from staff working in the Trust, for example, in GP surgeries, outpatients departments, day procedure units and x-ray departments. Specialist staff are also available when required, for example, specialist nurses such as stoma nurses, lung cancer nurses, counsellor, Macmillan Information and Support Service, psychologists and the Specialist Palliative Care Team.

Our staff are aware of how challenging this journey is and will make every effort to ensure it is as smooth as possible. The Trust strives to ensure each patent diagnosed with cancer receives the best possible care and is treated within the nationally agreed standards.

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