We are a designated hospital (called a primary treatment centre) for a large number of children and young people diagnosed with a number of different cancers and blood disorders from a wide referral area. We have the largest Teenage Cancer Trust unit in the country. We provide regional cancer care with 70% of greater London teenage cancer cases managed here.
We operate as a unified cancer centre together with Great Ormond Street and collectively form the largest paediatric/adolescent oncology centre in Europe. This alliance allows for excellent patient care and the seamless and efficient transition of patients between services.
The clinical service is complemented by exceptional clinical/translational research within the University (UCL) and Institute of Child Health with research strengths in a number of areas including bone sarcomas, haematology and bone marrow transplantation. The opening of the new Institute of Cancer Biology on the campus strengthens the research and collaborative infrastructure and allows for greater opportunities in translational research.
Recently the new state of the art ‘University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre’ opened. Within this is a dedicated floor specifically designed for young people with cancer aged from 13 to 24 years. The floor has outstanding features including a unique treatment area and recreation area known as the Teenage Cancer Trust Hub.
Our service provides the care and treatment in children and young people for a range of cancers including:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- Acute myeloid leukaemia
- Ewing’s sarcoma
- Germ cell tumours
- Hodgkin's disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Tumours of the central nervous system
We also provide:
- Bone marrow transplantation
- Non-malignant haematology
Because of the nature of our patients we do not have waiting times and we see approximately 150 new patients per year.
Patient support services
All patients receive the support of an expert multidisciplinary team (MDT). The team meet weekly to ensure regular communication between team members and support a holistic approach to patient care.
The multidisciplinary team consists of:
- Nursing teams – each patient is allocated a clinical nurse specialist at diagnosis who provides educational and emotional support. They will also liaise with the local team and community nurses, along with the patient's school. They will remain in contact with the patient throughout their treatment and often long after.
- Medical teams – Our medical team are specially trained to take care of children and young adults across a wide range of different conditions.
- Learning support – a teacher is attached to the service and coordinates study with the patient’s school.
- Psychological support – is provided before, during and after treatment in response to the patients’ needs and requests. Work takes place with patients and their parents to help them understand the issues raised for them by their illess and its treatment, and to build their mental resistance.
- Physiotherapy – each patient is assessed and has an individualised training programme designed to help improve muscle strength and stamina.
- Occupational therapy – support allows patients to improve their quality of life by a mixture of group and individual work around personal care, functional and pyscho-social skills.
- Activity coordinators/play specialist – their role enables children and young people to cope better with their stay in hospital by offering them choice and control, and building their self esteem. A well equiped activity room also provides a valuable space to meet other patients undergoing similar treatment, this plays a vital role in facilitating peer support.
- Nutritional support – our dietician assesses nutritional needs of each patient and advises them on how best these can be meet.
- Complementary therapists – a wide range of treatments are offered including aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki. Benefits reported by patients include pain reduction, relaxation, increased energy and a reduction in the side effects felt from other aspects of treatment.
- Social care – The CLIC Sargent Social Care Team at UCLH provide a specialist social work service for patients under 24 and their families with cancer. This can include supporting communication between the patient’s family and the medical and nursing staff, and providing finanical advice.
- Support groups - a patient group (weekly), parent group (weekly), family support day (bi-monthly), bereavement group (six-weekly), lymphoma group (monthly). A peer support network is also being established.
Patients will be followed up in our service until they are moved to the adult service and late effects clinics. These follow-ups will become less frequent over time and may be shared with the local hospital.