Cancer news and blogs 

  • Cervical cancer awareness week – screening saves lives
    20 June 2017

    Last week (12-18 June) was cervical cancer awareness week. UCLH Cancer Collaborative is urging all eligible women in our region (north central and east London and west Essex) to take up their invitation to cervical screening.

    Each year there are 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer in the UK, that’s around nine women diagnosed every day. Around two out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in women are cervical cancer and more than half of cases are women under the age of 45.

    Cervical cancer affects the lower part of the womb, also called the neck of the womb. The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus (HPV) – a common virus which in most cases is cleared by your immune system without any problems.

    Cervical screening (also known as a smear test) is open to women aged 25 to 64, and is a very effective way of preventing cancer by finding (and treating - please remove) abnormal cell changes in the neck of the womb (cervix). These changes could lead to cancer if left untreated. They are usually easily treated in clinic which avoids cancer developing.

    Research shows that cervical screening prevents at least 2,000 cervical cancer deaths each year in the UK. Since cervical screening started in the 1980s in Great Britain, rates of cervical cancer have almost halved.

    Yet many women do not attend their smear test (cervical screening). Of the 1.03 million women eligible for screening in our region (north central and east London), only 201,300 took up the opportunity last year – one in five women.

    Dr Alexandra Lawrence, consultant gynaecological oncologist and director of the London Cancer gynaecological pathway board, said:

    “Cervical cancer is very treatable if detected early and it is clear that the cervical screening programme has saved thousands of lives in recent years. Yet many women do not take up the opportunity of this simple screening test for a variety of reasons. These could include being worried about the test itself, not being registered with a GP or not being aware of the importance of cervical screening.

    “Let’s make this cervical cancer awareness week the time when we encourage all eligible women to take up their invitation to cervical screening.

    “It’s also important that women experiencing any abnormal symptoms, such as unusual bleeding or pain, go and see their GP as soon as possible even if you are not due for cervical screening.”

    To have a screening test, women can either book at their GP surgery or at their local sexual health clinic.

    For more information about cervical cancer screening, visit:

    We hosted a webchat with consultant gynaecologist Tim Mould on cervical cancer screening last year - you can replay at any time

  • Avoiding delays in investigation and treatment of bowel cancer
    28 April 2017

    As Bowel Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, the UCLH Cancer Collaborative is focusing on improving two-week wait referrals for suspected bowel cancer. Incomplete and inaccurate referral requests can lead to delays in investigations and treatment. 

    When a GP suspects that a patient may have cancer, they can make a ‘two-week wait’ referral to hospital so that the patient’s symptoms can be investigated fully and quickly. It is very important that the right information is included in the referral form so that there are no delays and that patients are seen by the right team, in the right place at the right time.

    Watch our video on good practice in two-week wait referrals here.




  • Local residents invited to free cancer awareness training

    London residents are being invited to receive free training to help them recognise health symptoms that may signify cancer.

    The Highlight Cancer workshop, organised by UCLH Cancer Collaborative with Cancer Research UK, will help people to have simple, yet powerful, conversations with their family, friends and community about cancer and health in general.
    The workshop takes place on Monday 26 June (12.00-15.00) and is FREE to attend. It will help residents to:

    • Understand key messages around cancer awareness
    • Improve confidence and ‘know how’ to make the most of conversations with family and friends, and work colleagues or clients/customers
    • Encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes, use local services and contact their GP with any concerns.

    Cancer is on the rise and it is thought that one in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives. At the same time more and more people are surviving cancer – twice as many people survive cancer today than they did 40 years ago. Getting an early diagnosis is crucial to getting the right treatment for cancer.  
    Familiar faces in the community are ideally placed to encourage their friends, family, neighbours and customers to visit their GP if they have any health concerns, or to be able to point them in the direction of local healthy living support services.
    It’s not about being an expert in cancer or health – it’s about having simple, yet powerful conversations that could make all the difference.
    Date: Monday 26 June
    Time: 12.00-15.00
    Location: Redridge CVS, Ilford IG1.
    The sessions are open to all but are particularly targeted at non-healthcare workers. Register to attend here or search Highlight Cancer on
    Prof Kathy Pritchard-Jones, chief medical officer for the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, said:
    “A simple conversation can make all the difference to someone who may be worried about a change to their body. It’s so important that people are encouraged to go to their GP with any symptoms that don’t feel right for them.  Whilst it probably isn’t cancer, if there is a problem, identifying it quickly is crucial to getting an early diagnosis and the right treatment.
    “We are working with Cancer Research UK to train members of the public to have these simple, yet potentially life-saving conversations with their family, friends and local community.”

  • We're award winners!

    UCLH team Amy Smith, Krishna Patel and Sam Morris won the bronze award at the International Clinical Researcher of the year award last week.

    This tough competition tests entrants' competencies and skills in a real life challenge against their peers.  Of the four finalists in the 'clinical site' category, two teams were from UCLH, a huge achievement in itself and a testament to the thriving research expertise at UCLH.

    For more information about the awards go to

  • Talking bowel cancer in Barking

    On Tuesday 30 May, the UCLH Cancer Collaborative will be in Barking with a giant inflatable colon talking to residents about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer). This event is part of the Deflate Cancer project to encourage people to be more aware of cancer symptoms and promote earlier diagnosis.

    Date: Tuesday 30 May
    Time: 10.00-17.00
    Location: Walkway near Asda, Short Blue Place, Barking IG11 8FJ

    >The inflatable colon is a walk through inflatable replica of the human colon that allows visitors to learn about the various stages of bowel cancer, with a guided tour from a healthcare advisor. The event is being organised in partnership with IBO Ltd, Bowel Cancer UK, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Barking and Dagenham CCG, and CRUK.

    Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer registered in England and the UK's second biggest cancer killer, but if diagnosed early enough there's more than a 90% chance of successful treatment.

    The risk of bowel cancer increases with age and all men and women over the age of 60 are invited to take part in bowel cancer screening every two years. The uptake in Barking and Dagenham for screening is 43%, compared to a national average of 58%. In addition, research has shown that only around 50% of Barking and Dagenham residents understand the key signs and symptoms of bowel cancer (blood in poo, change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness, pain or lump in tummy).

    Join us in Barking on 30 May to find out more.

  • Making endoscopy departments more efficient
    27 April 2017

    This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the UCLH Cancer Collaborative is highlighting good practice in the diagnosis of bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer).

    Endoscopy involves having your body examined from the inside using a small camera on a flexible tube inserted through your mouth or bottom. It is crucial in so many different aspects of patient care – largely in cancer diagnosis and particularly for bowel cancer.

    Endoscopy departments are currently very stretched across the NHS because of the increased demand for these procedures, due to better awareness of symptoms and increased surveillance of high-risk people.

    One way of managing the increase in demand is to try to make endoscopy units work more efficiently. The UCLH Cancer Collaborative is working with the NHS across north central and east London, and west Essex to assess how much additional endoscopy activity could be delivered with existing resources.

    UCLH has devised a new approach that continuously records endoscopy activity in its unit, including reasons for late starts and early finishes. Watch our video to find out more.


  • Watch our Facebook Live chat on bowel cancer
    25 April 2017

    To mark #bowelcancerawareness month, we hosted a Facebook Live chat with consultant gastroenterologist Dr Ed Seward. Ed works at UCLH and is working on the UCLH Cancer Collaborative’s work to diagnose bowel cancer earlier. Facebook Live sessions give the public the opportunity to put their questions to an expert. If you missed the chat, you can replay it any time.

    If you’ve any ideas for future chats, please get in touch, we’re open to ideas – please email

  • Vague symptoms - could it be cancer?
    21 April 2017

    Not all cancer symptoms are clear cut. For patients with so-called ‘vague’ symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss or non-specific abdominal pain, there may be no clear specific underlying cancer types. 

    For these patients it’s often unclear what the right tests are, and which specialists to involve. As a result, patients can get sent back and forth between GP and hospitals, delaying their diagnosis. Sometimes, patients present to emergency departments with symptoms that are later diagnosed as cancer – data shows that 24% of colorectal cancers and one in two pancreatic cancers in north central and east London are diagnosed after attending emergency departments, often with late stage disease.

    In June 2014, NHS England with support from Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support started the three year Accelerate, Coordinate, Evaluate (ACE) Programme to drive earlier cancer diagnosis in England. As part of the national ACE programme, London Cancer, now part of the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, initiated pilots of two Multi-disciplinary Diagnostic Centres (MDCs) at University College Hospital and Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

    Our findings, alongside other ‘vague symptoms’ projects in the ACE Programme have now been published - We are very pleased that ACE has made a number of recommendations, including:

    • the need for novel diagnostic pathways for patients that present with non-specific but concerning symptoms, who do not meet current urgent referral criteria guidelines for suspected cancer. This will help to ensure timely diagnosis for these patients.
    • explore options to streamline local diagnostic pathways, including the increased use of clinical nurse specialists as coordinators of patient care and to act as a point of contact for urgent results

    Over the next year, we will continue to work with ACE to explore the concept of MDCs, both in broadening our referral criteria and increasing the number of centres in our locality.

    For more on the ACE programme, go to

  • Straight-to-test can reduce waiting times for bowel cancer testing
    20 April 2017

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative is supporting the roll-out of the straight-to-test pathway for colorectal cancer (also known as bowel cancer) across our local area.

    Straight-to-test is a telephone-based consultation for patients with symptoms suggestive of bowel cancer.  This can reduce the time that patients wait for a test.

    Under straight-to-test, patients can be seen by their GP, have a phone consultation with a specialist nurse and be given an appointment for an investigative procedure within a few days.

    Helen Pardoe, a consultant colorectal surgeon at the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which runs a straight-to-test service, says:

    “Patients really benefit from having a rapid access to a test which gives them an answer on whether they have colorectal cancer or not. This is a good service for patients and the patients want it. It’s about getting the right patients, to have the right consultation and the right test for their symptoms.”

    Watch and read about how the straight-to-test pathway is working in practice at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


  • April is Bowel Cancer Awareness month
    2 April 2017

    Bowel cancer (or colorectal cancer) is the fourth most common cancer in the UK with 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year. If detected early, people have an excellent chance of surviving the disease with more than 90 per cent surviving five or more years after an early diagnosis.

    However, the vast majority of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at a late stage which is why it is the second biggest cancer killer. We want more people to receive early diagnosis and survive bowel cancer.

    This April, the UCLH Cancer Collaborative is marking Bowel Cancer Awareness month with a series of activities and case studies to highlight good practice in the early diagnosis of bowel cancer.

    Our first event is this week on Wednesday 5 April. The UCLH Cancer Collaborative will be in Stratford with a giant inflatable colon talking to the public about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. This event is part of the Deflate Cancer project to educate the public about cancer and promote earlier diagnosis. Join us opposite the Stratford Centre between 10 and 17.00.

    We will be updating the Cancer blog during April with news and activities, or follow us on Twitter @uclh #bowelcancerawarenessmonth.

  • Welcoming Nick Robinson to our Cancer Centre
    31 March 2017

    We welcomed Nick Robinson of the BBC’s Today programme to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre this week. Nick toured the chemotherapy suite with Prof Kathy Pritchard-Jones, chief medical officer for the UCLH Cancer Collaborative. He also spoke to patients and staff working at the centre.

    The piece on improving the diagnosis of cancer was broadcast on the Today programme in the week that NHS England launched its Five Year Forward View refresh document.

    Prof Pritchard-Jones told Nick Robinson about the UCLH Cancer Collaborative’s work piloting specialist centres in London to rapidly diagnose cancer when the patients symptoms are ‘vague’ such as unexplained weight loss or abdominal pain and don’t have a clear tumour pathway. We are delighted that these Rapid Diagnostic Assessment Centres are a key part of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View refresh.

    Listen to an excerpt of the interview. Here is our full response to the NHS England Five Year Forward View refresh.

  • Sharing our learning with Cancer Alliances
    30 March 2017

    The national Cancer Vanguard, which brings together the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation and Royal Marsden Partners, held its first national event to share learning with the Cancer Alliances.

    NHS England's National Cancer Director, Cally Palmer, introduced the event by urging the Cancer Alliances to set the pace for change in services.

    A number of UCLH clinicians also spoke to share our work on rapidly improving the earlier diagnosis of cancer, specifically lung and colorectal cancers.

    A write-up of the event, including presentations and posters is available on the Cancer Vanguard website.

    The day in photos
  • Contact Young Company take on cancer - "There is a Light: BRIGHTLIGHT"
    15 March 2017

    UCLH leads on a large scale group of research projects which look at the quality of the provision of services for people aged 13-24 with cancer. The research study, called BRIGHTLIGHT, is developed by young people for young people and aims to make living with the illness more bearable.

    The BRIGHTLIGHT Collaboration involves clinicians and researchers from London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton. Central to the BRIGHTLIGHT Collaboration is the involvement of young people.

    The BRIGHTLIGHT study has been a direct inspiration for a new production from the award winning Contact Young Company. Directed by award winning artist Adura Onashile There is a Light: BRIGHTLIGHT will premiere at Contact, commissioned as part of SICK! Festival before embarking on two national tours.

    Offering a critical and provocative perspective of how we support young people with cancer in an increasingly stretched Health Service, There is a Light: BRIGHTLIGHT has been created with the help of researchers, clinicians and patients.

    Tickets are priced £13/£7 concession. Over 12’s. Please book online at or call Contact’s Box Office on 0161 274 0600.

  • Cancer Vanguard Early Diagnosis Industry Challenge – launch documents now available

    03 March 2017

    The Cancer Vanguard’s challenge to industry, academics and the third sector to partner with it on projects to improve early diagnosis has now been formally launched.

    The aim of the Early Diagnosis Industry Challenge is to engage expertise from outside the NHS to undertake a small number of high impact projects which will lead to a tangible improvement in the earlier diagnosis of cancer. The call will close on 30 March 2017.

    More information on the Early Diagnosis Industry Challenge, including information about how to submit a proposal can be found on the Cancer Vanguard website.

  • In the news – UCLH Cancer Collaborative

    24 February 2017

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative has featured on BBC news programmes and BBC online this week.

    Our chief medical officer, Prof Kathy Pritchard-Jones, appeared on the 6pm and 10pm BBC news bulletins talking about centralisation of NHS specialised services. Kathy talked about the benefits of bringing some cancer services together, highlighting our pilot project to try out ways of administering some breast cancer drugs in patients’ own homes to save them coming into hospital.

    Elsewhere on the BBC, an animation to help parents with cancer talk to children about their diagnosis, produced jointly between the Fruit Fly Collective and the UCLH Cancer Collaborative was featured on BBC online. This provoked a tremendous response from the public who shared their moving stories online about their own families’ experiences. The BBC’s shortened version of the film had over 200,000 views on Facebook and their follow-up piece sharing patients’ stories was shared over 530 times.

  • Animation: telling children your child you have cancer

    09 February 2017

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative has teamed up with the Fruit Fly Collective to create a short animated film to advise parents with cancer on how to talk to their children about their diagnosis.

    It is thought to be the first animated film of its kind and guides parents through discussing their cancer diagnosis with children of different ages, should they wish to.

    By 2020, one in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Many of these people will be parents of dependent children – in 2016 there were 7.6 million families with dependent children in the UK.

    Explaining a cancer diagnosis to their child is one of the hardest things a parent can do. But with the right support, children are very good at coping and talking to each other as a family can really help children at this difficult time.  

    The animation uses a cartoon family to give practical tips on telling children you have cancer. Evidence shows that adults respond positively to messages that may be frightening, sensitive or confusing when the information behind the messages is created in a comic-book like format. The animation has also been made into a comic-book for parents, and flyers informing people about the film will be distributed throughout the NHS in the London Cancer area. 

    Dr Mark Barrington, chair of the London Cancer Psychosocial Expert Reference Group and a consultant clinical psychologist, said:

    “It is so important that people diagnosed with cancer receive the right psychological, as well as medical, support. For parents, this can be an especially difficult time and sometimes people are unsure whether or not to tell their children about their diagnosis at all. We were delighted to work with the Fruit Fly Collective to produce the first film of its kind offering clear, practical advice.”

  • Cancer Vanguard launches early diagnosis industry challenge

    03 February 2017

    The national Cancer Vanguard has launched a groundbreaking opportunity for a select group of industry partners to work with them on projects to improve the early diagnosis of cancer.

    The call will launch in late February and close in March 2017.  The aim is to engage expertise from outside the NHS to undertake a small number of high impact projects which will ultimately lead to a tangible improvement in the earlier diagnosis of cancer in the NHS.

    There is a specific focus on two outcomes – first, increasing the proportion of cancers detected at stages 1 and 2. Second, reducing the proportion of cancers detected through accident and emergency.

    We anticipate that successful projects would help improve earlier diagnosis through developing new ways of testing and scanning for cancer; delivering improvements to how patients access services and how patients are referred across clinical teams in different parts of the NHS; and preventing cancer through public health campaigns or working with GPs.

    Projects will be launched in April 2017 and conclude in March 2018.

    The Cancer Vanguard is a unique collaboration between three of the UK’s leading providers of cancer services – UCLH, The Christie and the Royal Marsden. Together, we serve a population of over ten million and have joined together to explore new and innovative ways of delivering services to address the challenges set out by the national cancer taskforce. 

    If you would like more information on the early diagnosis industry challenge, please contact

    Find out more information about our early diagnosis work programme.

  • Highlight Cancer – training for non-healthcare professionals
    31 January 2017

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative team launched the first Highlight Cancer training session for non-healthcare professionals as part of its earlier diagnosis education and awareness work.

    We have teamed up with Cancer Research UK to roll out these training sessions to increase awareness of cancer signs and symptoms and provide those working in client-facing roles (such as hairdressers, beauticians, café and bar staff) with valuable tips on how to approach conversations about cancer with their customers.

    The first three hour workshop in January was very well attended, and at the end all attendees fed back that they felt they understood the key messages around cancer awareness and the signs and symptoms of a variety of cancers. They also stated that they felt their confidence to discuss cancer had improved and they felt they knew how to make the most of conversations with their customers in the future. Many of the attendees also felt more encouraged to make healthy lifestyle changes, use local services and contact their GP with any concerns. 

    Below is a snapshot of some of the feedback from the session:

    “I learned so, so much and, as the course suggested , I have gone away and I am talking cancer. I am definitely going to pass on the knowledge I have learned.”

    “There were so many amazing facts to hear and dispel and lots of doubts and uncertainties have been put to right. The course content was very well planned and both the trainers were excellent.”

    “Very informative and motivational training session.”

    “I enjoyed the training. The topic is very important and early diagnosis is invaluable. Trainers were good, making a serious topic light-hearted yet taken seriously”.

    “This course should be more widely promoted so that everyone feels more confident to talk about cancer. I will start to use the line 'screening can prevent (some types) of cancer.’”

    Read more about the UCLH Cancer Collaborative’s education and awareness work.

  • Tools to help GPs detect cancer faster
    18 January 2017

    In this video, Macmillan GP improvement lead, Dr Afsana Bhuiya talks about the UCLH Cancer Collaborative's work to help GPs detect cancers earlier and improve the care of individuals living with cancer in the community.

    Working with Macmillan and the Transforming Cancer Services Team for London, we have produced guidance and training for GPs to help them improve their data quality so patients experience better continuity of notes between GP visits. We are also piloting a safety netting toolkit for GPs which is a really practical way to help GPs track patients they are worried about with potential cancer.

    We hope that these tools, and others, can be replicated across the country to help more people diagnosed with and living with cancer.

    Find out more about the Macmillan Integrated Cancer Programme, part of the UCLH Cancer Collaborative.

  • UCLH at the first Global Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Congress in 2016

    At the end of last year (Dec 2016), our teams attended the very first Global Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Congress in Edinburgh hosted by the Teenage Cancer Trust.

    Four hundred delegates from over 19 countries came to the event, the largest ever AYA conference.

    Paediatric Oncology clinical nurse specialist (CNS) Beth McCann was invited to speak at an expert symposium on sex and relationships during cancer treatment and Dr Louise Soanes was also invited to speak on the pros and cons of age appropriate care.

    Of the 18 presentations, four were delivered by UCLH clinicians: Dr Lorna Fern and Dr Rachael Hough, and two of our PhD students, Gemma Pugh and Sarah Lea. UCLH also provided six poster presentations. Many of the Teenagers and Young Adults (TYA) inpatient and ambulatory teams also attended the congress as delegates supporting all those who were presenting.

    During the congress the second edition of the Blueprint of Care was launched which was greatly contributed to by the UCLH nursing team. This document is universally acknowledged as a key document for informing care.

    Rachel Taylor, senior research manager for applied health research on the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at UCLH said: “I was incredibly proud to attend the congress as a member of the UCLH team representing the trust on an international stage”.

  • Making better use of cancer medicines

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative is working as part of the national Cancer Vanguard in a novel partnership with the pharmaceutical industry to make better use of medicines.

    As part of the ground-breaking Pharma Challenge, the Cancer Vanguard invited pharmaceutical companies to submit proposals to improve the availability and delivery of cancer drugs.

    The Cancer Vanguard has now signed agreements with two companies, Amgen and Sandoz, to develop their innovative plans, with further agreements expected shortly.

    The Amgen project, which is led by UCLH, aims to map out and measure the most efficient out-of-hospital administration of denosumab, also known as Xgeva ®, a therapy used in patients with advanced breast cancer. This has the potential to bring treatment closer to patients’ homes and help health professionals decide the best treatment ‘pathway’ for individual patients. The project is not intended to promote denosumab over any other similar medicine.

    UCLH pharmacist Pinkie Chambers, who sits on the vanguard’s joint medicines optimisation group, said: “We are excited to be working with Amgen to potentially bring the administration of the breast cancer drug denosumab closer to patients’ homes. If successful, this could be good news for both patients and their carers – saving them time waiting in hospital.”

    Rob Duncombe, Director of Pharmacy at The Christie and chair of the vanguard’s joint medicines optimisation group, said: “Through better use of cancer medicines, the potential to improve patient outcomes and experience, while saving the NHS money, is tremendous.”

    Read more about the NHS Cancer Vanguard working to make better use of cancer medicines.

  • Thomas chops his locks for wig charity

    UCLH Clinical Trial Practitioner, Thomas Taylor, spent his birthday having a very special haircut. Thomas has been growing his hair for 18 months and had his long locks cut off to be made into wigs for children receiving chemotherapy. He also raised money in the process for a genetic disorders charity – PID UK.

    Thomas said: “Kids with cancer need wigs and the Little Princess Trust relies on donations of natural hair to make wigs for children. My hair has got to 12 inches long so will hopefully be of great use.

    “As I’m sacrificing something I’ve come to love, I’m also trying to raise some money to help patients and families affected by primary immune deficiencies.

    “I may need to buy a new hat to get me through the winter months with my significantly shorter new hairstyle!”

    Here at UCLH Thomas helps to research new transplant and gene/cell therapy techniques for cancer patients in his role as a Clinical Trials Practitioner.

  • £6.9m of new funding for national Cancer Vanguard

    NHS England has announced £6.9 million of new funding to support and spread the work of the national Cancer Vanguard.

    The Cancer Vanguard is a partnership between the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation and RM Partners (north west and south west London). Together we serve a population of over 10 million and we are working to change the way cancer care is provided. Find out more information on the funding announcement.

  • Reflective Christmas trees light up UCLH
    07 December 2016

    Reflective Christmas trees are now up in the Macmillan Cancer Centre, Westmoreland Street and Radiotherapy Unit at UCLH. These are organised by the UCH Cancer Fund.

    The trees give patients, supporters, family, friends and staff an opportunity to take the time to reflect on the year gone by and on those we have shared it with. People write a message of thanks, support or remembrance on a reflective heart that is placed on the tree.

    Find out more about our Reflective Christmas Trees

  • UCLH Cancer Strategy update Autumn 2016
    06 December 2016

    There’s a lot going on in cancer services at UCLH so here’s our e-bulletin designed to update our stakeholders on the various aspects of the UCLH Cancer Strategy.

    If you would like to receive this update directly, by email, please contact

  • Promoting earlier diagnosis of cancer
    05 December 2016

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative, which is part of the national Cancer Vanguard, has been promoting the earlier diagnosis of cancer to the public and health professionals.

    The team took a giant inflatable colon to Camden Lock to talk to the public about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer).

    Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in England, and the second biggest cancer killer due to late diagnosis. But if diagnosed early enough there’s more than a 90% chance of successful treatment.

    The inflatable colon is a walk through inflatable replica of the human colon that allows visitors to learn about bowel health including bowel cancer, with a guided tour from a healthcare advisor.

    The Cancer Collaborative also organised an event for public health professionals, CCGs, GPs, academics and voluntary organisations to share learning about successful public health campaigns from across the country that can potentially be replicated in London.

    The audience heard from campaigns across the country including CoppaFeel who encourage women to regularly check their breasts via their network of ‘Boobettes’ – young women diagnosed with breast cancer. And the ‘Small c’ campaign in east London which increased awareness and early diagnosis of cancer through a social marketing campaign amongst target populations.

    Claire Levermore, earlier diagnosis programme lead, said: “Late diagnosis of cancer is one of the key factors that contribute to England’s lower survival rates compared to the rest of Europe.”

    “Our education and awareness programme, part of the national Cancer Vanguard, is taking a multi-pronged approach to targeting and engaging patients, their families, healthcare and non-healthcare professionals in a number of awareness-raising activities over the coming months to help diagnose cancer faster.”

    Find out more information on the UCLH Cancer Collaborative’s education and awareness programme.

  • UCLH Cancer join Gary Lineker to celebrate kids’ radiotherapy fundraising
    21 November 2016

    Prof Jeffrey Tobias, UCLH consultant oncologist, and Kevin Sullivan, Head of Cancer Operations, joined Gary Lineker to celebrate 20 years of the charity Fight for Life. The Fight for Life children’s cancer charity raises money to support the radiotherapy unit treating children at UCLH.

    Photo: Jeffrey Tobias and Kevin Sullivan with Gary Lineker and Fight for Life committee members Yvonne Delane, Cindy Simons and Nikki Benezra.

    Over the last 20 years, Fight for Life has been able to improve the lives of many children and their families at UCLH by raising funds for a whole raft of projects, including:

    • A brand new Linear Accelerator capable of treating with much greater precision and speed than earlier machines.
    • A state of the art PET/CT scanner, giving greater accuracy and allowing us to treat the cancer minimising the harm to growing tissue close by.
    • A TrueBeam accelerator, capable of a higher speed of treatment as well as greater accuracy.
    • The RapidArc project, using computer software to offer versatility for children needing complicated radiation planning and the IGRT (Imageguided radiation therapy ) tools, allowing us to accurately follow and if necessary correct any minor disturbances of the radiotherapy treatment.

    As well as all this world-class radiotherapy kit, Fight for Life maintain the children’s playroom at UCLH which is regularly updated with toys and equipment.

    Prof Tobias, chair of both Fight for Life and the UCH Cancer Fund, said: “The children’s radiotherapy department at UCLH continues to grow and develop with the assistance of Fight for Life.

    “The most exciting development for the future is undoubtedly the delivery of proton beam therapy here at UCLH. As there will only be two proton sites in the UK, children and their families will be travelling from all over the country to receive treatment for up to six weeks. With the help of Fight for Life we would like to make the proton beam playroom the best in the world and more importantly a place where children can escape the rigours of treatment.”

  • Facebook Live web chat: Ask an expert about prostate cancer
    16 November 2016

    For this year’s Movember campaign we held the first ever UCLH Facebook Live web chat broadcast. Our leading expert Professor Mark Emberton came back once more to answer your questions about prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the UK’s most common cancer in men, killing 10,000 men every year – that’s one man every hour.

    Professor Emberton is at the forefront of research to develop new techniques to diagnose and treat prostate cancer. He is director of surgery at UCL and is an honorary consultant at UCLH. He sees, advises and treats patients at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, as often as possible within a clinical trial setting.

    The conversation focused on the latest research and diagnosing, treating and living with prostate cancer.

    The web chat was broadcast as a live video on the UCLH Facebook Page. You can replay the web chat below.

  • Improving the experience of cancer patients through education
    03 November 2016

    Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services, UCLH

    By Alison Hill, Lead Cancer Nurse, UCLH

    At UCLH we are using funding from Health Education North East London to deliver education to improve the experience of cancer patients. We recognise that neighbouring NHS trusts share similar challenges, so we wanted a forum to share how we are meeting these challenges. Our particular focus was staff working in general areas and the often overlooked role of allied health professionals in cancer care.

    Our first educational event was held on Tuesday – it was great to see 75 health professionals of all disciplines getting together to talk about areas of best practice – for example, how colleagues at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals (BHRUT) are using mindfulness for young haematology patients who typically spend a lot of time in hospital. Another example was ‘what good looks like’ in terms of key skills and competencies we should all look for in people caring for cancer.

    The second half of the day focused on developing our resilience. The link between staff and patient experience is well documented and we explored different aspects of how we can care for ourselves as well as we care for our patients. It was great to welcome Barbara Wren to the event – Barbara was instrumental in bringing Schwartz Center Rounds - structured, confidential sessions where we can talk freely about the impact of caring for others – to the UK. We also explored some of the complementary treatments that are on offer to cancer patients, such as art therapy. 

    We were really encouraged to see so many staff and hope that we can continue to develop more educational events to inspire us to offer the best possible cancer care.

    Contact Alison Hill for more details of the event: 

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month Reception
    28 October 2016

    by Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Chief Medical Officer for the UCLH cancer collaborative and London Cancer

    This week I attended the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Breast Cancer's inquiry into geographical inequalities and breast cancer.

    Kathy Pritchard-Jones (left) with Teresa Moss, Director of the Transforming Cancer Services team, London and Dr Will Teh, Chair of the Breast Cancer Pathway Board for Royal Marsden Partners

    It was interesting to hear from the co-chair of the group, Sharon Hodgson MP, about the aim of their review - to understand the extent of variations and make recommendations to reduce inequalities. We also heard from Cally Palmer CBE, national cancer director, about how the ambitions of the National Cancer Strategy align with this review. A patient representative gave us a moving account of her own experience of breast cancer and the importance of access to high quality services.

    Here at the UCLH cancer collaborative, which includes London Cancer, we are working to change the way cancer care is provided, both locally across north central and east London and west Essex, and nationally working with our partners in the NHS. Our breast cancer pathway board is focusing on earlier diagnosis, improving quality and reducing variation, as well as developing new models of care that can bring appropriate care closer to home.

    For more information on the UCLH cancer collaborative and the national Cancer Vanguard click here.

    Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones is the chief medical officer for the UCLH cancer collaborative and London Cancer.

  • Delivering breast cancer treatment at home
    20 October 2016

    The UCLH Cancer Collaborative (part of the national Cancer Vanguard) has launched a new pilot project for breast cancer patients, enabling them to self-administer a drug called denosumab. It is an injection given just under the skin. Some women with breast cancer need to be treated with denosumab if the cancer has spread to their bones.  Self-administration of injections under the skin is common for many other treatments including DVT or diabetes.

    Pharmacist Pinkie Chambers, who has developed the pilot with Rebecca Roylance, UCLH consultant medical oncologist, said: “Currently some patients can wait for hours in hospital for this simple injection. Our pilot project allows women to self-administer denosumab  if they wish and we appreciate that some may choose not to. The new pilot will, above all else, save patients and carers waiting  time in hospital. In addition, this new model may demonstrate savings to commissioners.”

    Two UCLH patients have been recruited to start the pilot and we hope to recruit around 20 more. If successful, we will propose an alternative commissioning pathway for denosumab for north London that can potentially be replicated across the country.

  • European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) Congress 2016
    14 October 2016

    We're delighted to report that our expert cancer nurse and Joint Clinical Head of the Macmillan Support and Information Service Hilary Plant will be speaking at the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) Congress event in Dublin, Ireland next week (17-18 October 2016). 

    EONS is a pan-European organisation dedicated to the support and development of cancer nurses. The congress will be two days of specialist cancer nursing educational workshops, scientific news, and networking opportunities at the Dublin Aviva stadium.

    Hilary will be speaking on ‘Integrating self-management into clinical care’ and will be tweeting live from the event. You can follow her tweets using Twitter handle @hilaryplant

  • UCLH featured in NHS England Cancer Month
    30 September 2016

    September is Cancer Month for NHS England London and exciting developments at UCLH have been featured as part of this month-long campaign.

    Earlier diagnosis is a key part of our role as part of the Cancer Vanguard. This short film with Professor Sam Janes about earlier diagnosis for lung cancer discusses how earlier diagnosis is helping to save lives.

  • Improving the cancer patient experience – GP event
    23 September 2016

    How can we improve primary and secondary integrated care for people with cancer?

    We’re inviting GPs to answer this question in an interactive discussion with senior clinical and management staff in an event at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, Huntley Street, London WC1E 6AG, on 5 October, starting with refreshments at 6.15pm

    To reserve a place at this event please email

  • Cancer awareness web chats
    12 September 2016

    Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services, UCLHby Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services

    September 2016 is National Awareness Month for both Blood Cancer and Childhood Cancer. We are also continuing the launch of our head and neck cancer website. To mark these awareness events, and to promote our services, we are planning a series of web chat events.

    Our monthly web chats give UCLH patients and the public a chance to get involved in a live online discussion and ‘ask an expert’ for information on a specialist subject.

    The forthcoming web chats are as follows:

    We will also be active throughout September on social media and via blogs on the UCLH website. Dr Kirit Ardeshna, Divisional Clinical Director for Cancer at UCLH, has also written a blog update for the blood disease service that you can read here.

    To find out more information and engage with these nation awareness events you can use the #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth and #ChildhoodCancerAwarenessMonth hash tag handles.

    News stories will appear on the NHS England (London) cancer website later in the month -

    Nick Kirby is Divisional Manager for Cancer Services at UCLH. He is responsible for the day to day running of clinical services, the strategic direction of cancer at UCLH and the UCLH Cancer Collaborative work across the region.

  • NHS Expo
    9 September 2016

    Great to meet so many of you at the NHS Expo event this week to share our learning about Earlier Diagnosis. Download and read more about our lung and bowel cancer projects.

  • UCLH Cancer Strategy Update
    8 August 2016

    There’s a lot going on in cancer services at UCLH so here’s our first e-bulletin designed to update our stakeholders on the various aspects of the UCLH Cancer Strategy. 

    It’s our intention to publish this every three months – if you would like to receive this update directly, by email, please contact

  • A new guide for taking part in clinical research
    20 July 2016

    Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services, UCLHby Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services

    I would like to share with you a new resource that has been made available through the Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Group. This is a guide for teenagers and young adults (aged 13-25) with cancer who are considering taking part in a research study or clinical trial. This was created in response to suggestions from other young people who have been through or are still going through treatment for cancer.

    The guide has been updated and revised by Sophie Flowerdew, a paediatric oncology research nurse at UCLH and the BRIGHTLIGHT Team. This has been recognised as an excellent resource and is available here for download.

    Nick Kirby is Divisional Manager for Cancer Services at UCLH. He is responsible for the day to day running of clinical services, the strategic direction of cancer at UCLH and the UCLH Cancer Collaborative work across the region.

  • Brain cancer services and promotion to Professor
    07 July 2016

    Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services, UCLHby Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services

    NHS England has announced the award of new contracts for stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy (SRS/SRT). These are specialist forms of radiotherapy that can be used to treat patients with intracranial conditions, such as benign and malignant brain tumours.

    Details can be found here of the prominent role UCLH will play in providing services to patients on a local and national basis. Congratulations to the team from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square and the Radiotherapy Department in preparing such a successful bid.

    I’d also like to congratulate Professor Rob Stein on his successful application for an academic promotion – this is hugely deserved. More details can be found here. Professor Stein has been consultant at UCLH specialising exclusively in the medical treatment of breast cancer since 1997.

    Nick Kirby is Divisional Manager for Cancer Services at UCLH. He is responsible for the day to day running of clinical services, the strategic direction of cancer at UCLH and the UCLH Cancer Collaborative work across the region.

  • RCN Excellence in Cancer Research award winners
    24 June 2016

    Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services, UCLHby Nick Kirby, Divisional Manager Cancer Services

    We'd like to congratulate the sarcoma team based at UCLH who have won the RCN Excellence in Cancer Research award last month. Research exploring the perception and experiences of teenagers, young adults and professionals of bone cancer trials has yielded potential strategies for increasing their enrolment in the future. The study – Bone Cancer Research Trust Perceptions of Patients and Professionals (BRCT PoPP) – about clinical trial participation was developed and led by sarcoma nurses.

  • Launch event
    7 June 2016

    Great to see so many people at the launch of the UCLH cancer collaborative/ London Cancer review earlier this week – read more about the event here.
    Presentations from our event on 7 June to launch the UCLH cancer collaborative and review of London Cancer 2015/16 are now available online – please visit this link to download.
  • Launch of the UCLH Cancer Collaborative and London Cancer Annual Review 2015/16
    29 April 2016

    Jonathan Gardner, cancer programme director, UCLHTuesday 7 June 2016, 12-5pm, Basement Lecture theatre, 33 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG
    Please join us at this half day event which combines the public launch of the UCLH Cancer Collaborative with a review of the achievements of London Cancer over the last year. We aim is to provide you with an update on what’s been happening in local cancer services in 2015/16 and what is planned for the year ahead.  
    This event will also showcase the benefits for patients achieved by the work led by London Cancer and includes presentations on:
    • the improvements in patient outcomes and experience that have resulted from the specialist surgical reconfigurations in urology
    • work we have done to streamline diagnostic pathways for earlier detection of cancer
    • delivering stratified follow-up.
    The programme will reflect the multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care and will include panel discussions with patient representatives, clinicians, commissioners and key cancer charities.  There is also a ‘Market place’ to showcase ongoing projects and partners’ work. A copy of the draft programme and registration details are can be found here: 
    We look forward to seeing you there.
  • Centralisation of specialist services at UCLH
    18 March 2016

    Jonathan Gardner, cancer programme director, UCLH17 March 2016
    Blog byJonathan Gardner, cancer programme director, UCLH
    As proposed in the NHS England Case for Change document  in December 2015, UCLH became a local specialist centre for the treatment of blood, head and neck, oesophago-gastric and urological cancers.  We work in a system of local hospitals, which means that  patients who live in north London and west Essex will continue to have some treatment at their local hospital, but will have specialist treatment – for example surgery or specialist radiotherapy – at UCLH before returning to their local hospital.  Patients are treated at either University College Hospital, our state-of-the-art cancer centre, or for urological (bladder, prostate) cancers, University College Hospital at Westmoreland Street.
    UCLH will become a centre for brain cancer surgery -which will take place at the world renowned  National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery - from summer 2017.  Please contact me at if you have any queries about the re-organisation of these services.  Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to ensure the safe transition of care of over 2000 patients who have been affected by the changes.