Cancer Services

Weston General Hospital is working to deliver the aims of the NHS Cancer Plan.

This is a major programme of action linking prevention, diagnosis, care and research together. It aims to saves more lives, ensure the best treatments, tackle inequalities in health, and invest in the cancer workforce.

 

About Cancer

Cancer is the name given to a group of diseases that can occur anywhere in the body. There are many different types of cancer that can affect any tissue or organ.

Cells are the building blocks of our body. Different tissues each have cells with specific functions and normally these divide in a controlled way. Sometimes this control is lost and the cells divide in an uncontrolled way and are abnormal. This abnormal and excessive growth of tissue cells is called a tumour and can be either benign or malignant.

Benign tumours are usually limited to a small area and are often slow growing. They only cause problems because of their size or where they happen to be situated. They are often successfully removed by surgery and usually do not grow again.

Malignant tumours (cancers) are different, and can damage nearby tissue and organs and their functions. They can also spread to other parts of the body and form secondary tumours called metastases.

There are no common signs or symptoms for all the different types of cancers. It depends on the part of the body where the cancer starts growing.

It is important to remember that many cancers can be treated successfully, especially if they are found early. That is why screening programmes for some of the common cancers have been set up.

 

Cancer Services at Weston

The Cancer Services Office at Weston General Hospital receives about 400 referrals for suspected cancer each month from GP practices. The national standard is that every patient referred via this 'fast track' referral route will be seen in the outpatient department by a consultant within two weeks or where appropriate will first undergo a diagnostic test in the same timeframe.

The hospital accepts referrals for suspected cancer for the following specialities:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal (colon and rectum)
  • Urology (bladder, prostate, kidney, testicular and penile)
  • Skin
  • Gynaecology
  • Upper Gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, pancreas and stomach)
  • Lung
  • Head and Neck
  • Haematology (blood cancers)

Referrals for rarer cancers such as brain, bone and children's cancer are sent directly to specialist centres in Bristol.

 

About your referral

If your GP has referred you urgently to the hospital with suspected cancer you may be asking the following questions:

 

Why have I been referred?

Based on your symptoms, your GP has decided that you need an urgent referral to see a hospital specialist. It is important for you to be seen quickly in order to investigate your condition fully.

Remember that the signs or symptoms you have may be caused by a number of common conditions. Although this does include cancer, it does not mean that you have it.

 

What will happen next?

Your GP will send the details of your symptoms to the hospital. Staff in the Cancer Services Office will either contact you directly by phone to arrange an appointment or send the appointment details in the post.

 

What will happen at the hospital?

The appointment will either be for an outpatient consultation or for a diagnostic test, whichever the specialist thinks is most appropriate for you. In either case the appointment will take place within 14 days of your visit to the GP.

 

When you see the doctor for the first time you may want to ask these questions:

  • Will I need any tests?
  • If I do, what tests will I need?
  • Will I need to stay in hospital?
  • Should someone come with me to the tests?
  • When will I find out the results of the tests?
  • Who will let me know the results?
  • What will happen next?

 

Further Information

Please contact your GP if you have any questions or concerns about what is happening.