Urological cancers blog 

19 January 2017 

UCLH Bladder Cancer Patient Group

By Jeannie Rigby, Action Bladder Cancer UK

UCLH now has a new support group for bladder cancer patients – the second meeting was held at UCLH on Thursday 17 November 2016. This new group is for those who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, or who have someone close to them who has been diagnosed.

Action Bladder Cancer UK (a bladder cancer charity) was delighted to work with Janet Forgenie (Urology Clinical Nurse Specialist) and Hilary Baker (Lead CNS for Uro-Oncology) from UCLH to get this group started. Many cancer patients find attending such a group can be a great help – both emotionally and practically. It can be a good way to find out more about bladder cancer, to hear from others about their journey and talk about your own experience (if you wish to).

There was a good range of patients at the meeting (a couple had come with a family member – who are very welcome) held in the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre. It’s a great place for a group like this to meet, with an informal area to gather, enjoy the free coffee and to chat, and a quiet, spacious room for the group to meet. Janet and Hilary were both at the meeting, and gave a very friendly welcome as well as being on hand to answer questions.

Janet gave a short educational talk – An Introduction to Bladder Cancer – which all felt was very informative and helpful and sparked some interesting conversation. Future meetings would also feature talks of interest and the patients at the group contributed helpful ideas for future speakers – the suggestions included cancer specialists, a dietician and a patient who had already undergone a cystectomy. The speaker at the next meeting in January will be Dr Anita Mitra, who is a consultant in clinical oncology at UCLH.

Feedback from patients since the meeting has been very positive – saying that coming to the group was a great help in dealing with their diagnosis and it was very helpful to be able to listen and also to talk to other patients.

The group will take place every month, patients are welcome to attend every meeting or to drop in for a meeting when they wish. New members are very welcome to just come along to a meeting, or to contact Sarah Howard for more information.

Group Information

The group welcomes all bladder cancer patients and those close to them and meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 12:00.

When: The next meeting is on Thursday 19 January 2017.

Time: 12:00 – 13:00 Where: Macmillan Support & Information Service, Ground Floor, Macmillan Cancer Centre, Huntley Street, London WC1E 6AG

Contact: Sarah Howard, Support Worker.

Phone: 07852 220 226

Email: sarah.howard@uclh.nhs.uk

For more information about bladder cancer www.actionbladdercanceruk.org  


24 October 2016 

UCLH goes LIVE on Facebook for Movember campaign 2016

For this year’s Movember campaign we will be holding the first ever UCLH Facebook Live web chat broadcast. Our leading expert Professor Mark Emberton is 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 will focus on diagnosing, treating and living with prostate cancer, but questions related to all aspects of prostate cancer are welcome.

The web chat will be broadcast as a live video on the UCLH Facebook Page. You can submit your questions while the web chat is live, or in advance to webmaster@uclh.nhs.uk


To join in the Facebook Live web chat:

  1. Create a Facebook account (if you do not already have one) at www.facebook.com
  2. Go the UCLH Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/UCLHNHS/
  3. ‘Like’ the UCLH Facebook page by clicking the ‘Like’ button (the one with a thumbs up icon)
  4. Tune in to the UCLH Facebook Page on Monday 14 November 2016 at 4pm.
  5. Leave your questions in the comments box for Professor Emberton while the web chat is happening

If you are unable to tune in live, the whole transcript of the event will be available on this page shortly afterwards.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact us at webmaster@uclh.nhs.uk


AnnaMohammed21 September 2016

Surgery School - Education for robotic prostatectomy patients

By Anna Mohammed, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Robotics

At UCLH we utilise an Enhanced Recovery Pathway for our robotic prostatectomy patients and we strongly recommend attending our surgical education session (“Surgery School”). This session is extremely useful for both the patient and their partner and/or family and is held every Friday at University College Hospital Westmoreland Street.

The session is intended to manage your expectations, aid your post-operative recovery and help you to manage your care. It is an informal session where you are free to ask questions about the journey that you are about to embark upon.

We began these sessions in 2014 and the response and feedback has been overwhelming. It has been shown that patients who attend surgical school gain a faster recovery because they are aware of each milestone along their pathway.

For more information about this session, please contact Anna Mohammed, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for Robotics

Email: Anna.Mohammed@uclh.nhs.uk

The short video below is intended to give you a taste of what a “Surgery School” session is like.


MrBenLamb01 August 2016 

Electronic app for patients having surgery for bladder cancer

By Mr Ben Lamb, Urology Specialty Trainee

A team of urologists and anaesthetists (led by Dr Melanie Tan and myself) have been awarded a £10,000 grant by The Urology Foundation (TUF) to support the development of an electronic app to improve patient outcomes following surgery for bladder cancer.

The aim of the project is to engage patients in their own recovery after surgery in order to help to improve their experience and reduce the length of their hospital stay. Previously, the development of digital applications to promote eating and drinking and physical activity after bowel cancer surgery have helped to improve recovery and reduced time in hospital. This grant from TUF will allow the team to develop similar video apps for patients with bladder cancer undergoing robotic radical cystectomy, which they hope will lead to improvements in outcomes and patient experience.

With previous experience of developing electronic apps, and close ties with local film companies, the team based at University College London at Westmoreland Street is well placed to lead the development of electronic media for cancer patients. UCLH serve a population of 5 million people so the team are positive that improved recovery following surgery will benefit patients and their families across the region. Improving patient experience and engagement will also help to reduce cancer waiting times and enhance the efficient use of NHS resources.


Mike01 July 2016 

UCLH to open a support group for bladder cancer patients

By Mike Howard, Trustee - Support Group Development, Action Bladder Cancer UK (ABCUK)

We have some very good news for all bladder cancer patients, their partners and loved ones in the North London area. If this applies to you, you’ll soon no longer need to feel alone. On Thursday 29th September 2016, UCLH will hold its first bladder cancer support group at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, Huntley Street, London, WC1E 6AG.

You may know that the role of a urological cancer clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is to provide specialist care, support and information throughout the patient’s cancer journey. They are not only there for the patient, but can also signpost relatives to national information, support services, self-help groups and associated urology-specific support. The opening of this group is an important part of that role which will be of benefit not only to bladder cancer patients, but also to their partners and loved ones. ABCUK would like to thank the three dedicated nurses involved with this very worthwhile project.

ABCUK is working with UCLH to help set up the group. It is part of ABCUK’s programme of working with hospitals and others across the country to extend the network of bladder cancer support groups. Group meetings will be attended by a urological cancer CNS from UCLH. Speakers at the groups meetings will include medical professionals and group members will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Date of first meeting: Thursday 29 September 2016 at 12:00 (midday).

Meeting venue: University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, Huntley Street, London, WC1E 6AG.

To register your interest please contact us in one of the following ways: 

Or just come along to the first meeting. You will be made very welcome.


Rakesh28 June 2016 

The role of your clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

by Hilary Baker, Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for Urological Cancers

I recently wrote for the charity Fight Bladder Cancer about the role of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in your cancer care. Below is a brief excerpt:

“When you are in treatment for something as serious as bladder cancer, you don’t see just one doctor; you are cared for by an entire multidisciplinary team (MDT), a group of specialist doctors and healthcare professionals, all with urology expertise (NICE 2015).

The rock at the centre of that team is the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), registered nurses who have studied to Degree level and who are expected to be working towards Masters Level. All are clinical experts within their tumour speciality and nursing practice.

Their role is to provide specialist care, support and information throughout the patient’s cancer journey. And they are not only there for the patient, but can also signpost relatives to national information, support services, self-help groups and associated urology-specific support. But equally important is that they are the people who ensure a continuity of patient care by co-ordinating all the various agencies and professionals and providing the vital link between them and their patients. Over and above anything you can put on paper, having one constant reference point provides a huge degree of reassurance and emotional support.”


Rakesh16 June 2016 

Using imaging to detect prostate cancer – research breakthrough

by Professor Mark Emberton, Consultant Urological Surgeon

Recent results of a clinical trial on the use of imaging to help detect prostate cancer is set to change the way that prostate cancer is managed throughout the world.

This trial, conducted at UCLH, has looked at whether giving men who are referred with suspected prostate cancer a special type of MRI scan (mpMRI) before doing a first biopsy could help rule out the disease without the need for an ‘invasive’ biopsy.

The prostate cancer team at UCLH led this development some 10 years ago and conducted the clinical trial that provides the evidence that will allow others to change the way they diagnose patients.

The benefits for patients are considerable and will impact upon the 1 million men that are biopsied in Europe every year. The benefits of imaging patients in this way include:

About a quarter, possibly more, of men might avoid an unnecessary biopsy

Fewer cases of clinically important cancer will be missed

Fewer cases of insignificant prostate cancer (the kind of prostate cancer that is not dangerous) will be diagnosed

More accurate diagnoses Given all these benefits it is likely – and we are putting it to the test now – that significant cost savings will be generated as well.

Watch this space.


Rakesh9 June 2016 

Robotic urology fellowship at UCLH

by Mr Imran Ahmad, Consultant Urological Surgeon

UCLH is the largest centre in the UK providing robotic surgery for pelvic cancers and has a state of the art education centre. The unit offers an opportunity for surgeons to come and take part in their fellowship programme where they are trained in robotic surgery using da Vinci® robotic systems. I recently completed my own training fellowship.

I arrived in London never having been in the same room as a da Vinci® system, but left trained and competent to perform independent and challenging robotic prostatectomies and cystectomies within 12 months. I have written about my experience in a recent edition of the Urology News.


Rakesh27 May 2016 

Robotic surgery taster course at UCLH (7-8 June 2016)

by Mr Senthil Nathan, Consultant Urological Surgeon

The UCLH Education Centre & Chitra Sethia Centre welcome clinicians to join us for a taster course in robotic surgery.

As well as lectures from our esteemed faculty leading the way in UCLH's robotic surgery programme, you will get hands-on experience in the basics of robotics on one of our three Da Vinci robots and simulator.

Combined with lectures and e-learning, the aim of this course is introduce you to the hardware and capabilities of the robot, with plenty of hands-on practice.

  • For further information and to book your place on the course click here.

Rakesh4 May 2016 

Robotic surgery at UCLH featured on BBC London News

by Prof John Kelly, Consultant Urological Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Urology

You might have caught a segment on BBC London News this week which featured robotic surgery services here at University College Hospital Westmoreland Street. The news story follows Valerie who underwent a radical cystectomy (removal of the bladder) using robotic surgery to treat her bladder cancer. UCLH is one of the few hospitals in the UK that performs cystectomy using the da Vinci robotic surgical system. As robotic surgery is performed laparoscopically (key-hole surgery), we have found that patients benefit from a reduced recovery time and from far less visible scarring. The majority of these patients will also have a reconstruction of their bladder using the robotic or keyhole techniques which have been pioneered at UCLH.

The BBC London News story also highlights funding we received from The Urology Foundation. This will enable us to link with four other robotic training centres across the country to share expertise and increase the number of training places for the next generation of robotic surgeons. Our surgeons in training will learn the latest robotic surgical techniques in our world class UCLH Education Centre and will go on to treat patients with a variety of pelvic cancers including prostate cancer and bladder cancer. You can read more about the experiences of patients that have been treated at UCLH with robotic surgery here.

Watch robotic surgery at UCLH on BBC London News here.


Rakesh23 February 2016 

Welcome to our urological cancers blog by Hilary Baker

by Hilary Baker, Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for Urological Cancer

Our cancer service is one of the most comprehensive in the country. We diagnose and treat the main pelvic urological cancers, which are; bladder, prostate, penile, testicular and kidney cancer. Our urology surgeons, oncologists, specialist nurses, radiologists and histopathologists are all very experienced who work as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) to offer patients at UCLH a tailored treatment plan of care.

Our new website has been created to differentiate our specialist service online by delivering dynamic and interactive content. Before building the website we asked patients for information and features they would want to read and find helpful. When the website was completed we tested on patients to gain their feedback and to make sure we had delivered as asked. The whole MDT was involved in creating the content to ensure the information was accurate up to date and patient focused.

Throughout the website you will find information about the different cancer types and you will meet the teams that look after those patients. You will find stories from ‘real’ patients that have also gone through the same journey that you may be facing. There is information on our extensive support services and how to access them. There is contact information for the specialist nursing and the administration teams to provide you with support and advice during you cancer pathway.

We hope you find our new website useful and please do make comments and recommendations, we value your feedback. Also come back to this blog to find out the latest activities within the team at a later date.

Your feedback is appreciated, please complete the questionnaire below to let us know what you think about the new web pages:

www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DHY6QQH