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NICE backs specialist nurse care for oesophago-gastric cancer

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Patients with oesophago-gastric cancer should receive support and information from a specialist clinical nurse to help them adapt to physical changes, according to draft guidance.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s draft quality standard outlines how to deliver high standards of care for adults with oesophago-gastric cancer.

“Adults with oesophago-gastric cancer have access to an oesophagogastric clinical nurse specialist”

NICE document

There are about 13,000 new cases of the cancer every year, said the institute, with nine out of 10 people who get the disease are over 50.

Explaining the need for a specialist clinical nurse, the guidance said: “Adults with oesophago-gastric cancer need information and support to help them adapt to physical changes and reduced quality of life.”

It added: “A clinical nurse specialist in oesophago-gastric cancer can provide consistent and tailored information throughout care, potentially reducing the impact of these changes.”

NICE said the guidance aimed to improve the diagnosis and management of the disease by focusing on four key areas.

In addition to providing a specialist nurse, the other three areas covered by the standards include that health professionals should discuss and review each patient’s care, identifying those who are suitable for radical treatment and then refer them for treatment planning to reduce delays.

Meanwhile, when a patient is first referred, they should have a scan called F18 FDG-PET-CT to show where the cancer cells are. The results confirm how advanced the cancer is and establish if radical treatment is possible.

Patients should also have tailored support from specialist dietician before and after radical treatment as those with better treatment are more likely to complete their treatment.

The quality standard should be used alongside the clinical guideline on the assessment and management in oesophago-gastric cancer that NICE published in January this year.

The draft quality standard will be open for consultation from 10 July to 7 August 2018, said NICE, with the final quality standard expected to be published in December.

Quality statements

  • Statement 1 – Adults with oesophago-gastric cancer have their treatment reviewed by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) that includes an oncologist and a specialist radiologist with an interest in oesophago-gastric cancer.
  • Statement 2 – Adults with oesophageal or gastro-oesophageal junctional tumours (except T1a tumours) that are suitable for radical treatment have staging using 18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (F-18 FDG PET-CT).
  • Statement 3 – Adults with oesophago-gastric cancer have tailored specialist dietetic support before and after radical treatment.
  • Statement 4 – Adults with oesophago-gastric cancer have access to an oesophagogastric clinical nurse specialist.
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Readers' comments (1)

  • My best friend is one day post op today. I am relieved to say that his health care team have met the four qualities mentioned in your recent article. It’s nice to know some healthcare authorities are getting it right.

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