A new mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist has been appointed to support the high number of patients with the condition across Merseyside and Cheshire.
Expert lung cancer nurse Maria Guerin is to take up the role, which is being funded by national charity Mesothelioma UK and to be based at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool.
“There is significant ongoing burden of the disease in this area”
Around 90 new patients each year in Merseyside and Cheshire are diagnosed with the cancer that is usually caused by exposure to asbestos at work, noted the charity.
It said Ms Guerin would support healthcare teams throughout the area to make sure patients with the predominantly incurable disease got the best care and treatment, as well as ensuring access to clinical trials and promoting research opportunities.
She has been a lung cancer nurse at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for 20 years and has previously represented Merseyside and Cheshire as part of the charity’s Mesothelioma Nurse Action Team.
She is also a past chair of the National Cancer Forum for Nurses and current vice chair of the International Thoracic Oncology Nurses Forum. Ms Guerin said she was “delighted” to join Mesothelioma UK’s 18-strong team of clinical nurse specialists.
“Throughout my career I’ve witnessed the devastating impact a mesothelioma diagnosis has on people,” she said. “There is significant ongoing burden of the disease in this area, partially due to employment in the Docklands and the potential access to hazardous asbestos.
“I’m committed to ensuring equitable access to treatment for all mesothelioma patients, including access to essential clinical trials,” said Ms Guerin.
“We’re confident that Maria will provide excellent support to the patients undergoing treatment”
While providing clinical support is the main focus of her role, she said she would also be working with other agencies, charities and care providers to ensure all those eligible were getting government welfare benefits specifically allocated to mesothelioma.
“I will be also be working with local Merseyside and Cheshire victim support groups to ensure patients and families are provided with a true holistic support network,” she added.
Liz Darlison, Mesothelioma UK director of services and consultant nurse, said the charity was particularly concerned about the area because of the high number of mesothelioma cases.
“Merseyside and Cheshire is a particular area of concern for us in terms of the number of incidences of the disease and we’re confident that Maria will provide excellent support to the patients undergoing treatment,” she said.
She added: “We must continue to express our profound gratitude to our supporters, corporate donors and fundraisers, without whom, fulfilling positions such as Maria’s would not be possible.”