Nurses from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, one of the UK’s largest networked cancer centres, opened the doors to its mobile chemotherapy unit to sixth form pupils at Upton Hall School FCJ. The Wirral-based experts aimed to raise awareness of some of the most common types of cancer in the run up to the summer holidays. Pupils at the all-girls school were educated about skin, breast and cervical cancers and how to detect early signs and symptoms.
The girls took to a tour of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s mobile chemotherapy unit, the first of its kind in England operated by the NHS. The mobile unit is usually based in Chester and is used to administer chemotherapy to patients away from a hospital setting. The unit can treat 25 patients per day, which means there has been a significant increase in patients across Cheshire and Merseyside accessing chemotherapy closer to home in the seven months in which the unit has been up and running.
Keen to dispel myths about cancer, specialist cancer nurses used bespoke equipment to demonstrate to the Upton Hall pupils how to check breasts for lumps and used a rubber arm to show how a cannula is inserted. The nurses also spoke about the different types of wigs available to cancer patients who lose their hair as a side effect of chemotherapy.
Kim Barrow, head of chemotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre commented: “We’re incredibly proud of our mobile chemotherapy unit and its successes to date and want to make the most of this fantastic asset, even when it is not treating patients. It’s great to be able to show members of the community the state-of-the-art facilities we have and how we support cancer patients and their families.
“With the summer holidays just around the corner, skin cancer awareness is high on our agenda so we’re looking for every opportunity to educate people about the dangers of not being protected in the sun, at the same time as raising awareness around cancer as a whole. The girls were very responsive to the session and asked some very mature, intelligent questions about the service. I hope they have taken away some useful information from their visit and they will spread the information they have learned amongst their friends and family.”
The visit to Upton Hall FCJ was the first visit of its kind and following its success, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is hoping to carry out similar visits across other schools in Cheshire and Merseyside.
Olivia Sinclair, pupil at Upton Hall School commented: “I really enjoyed the visit from the nurses and seeing the mobile chemotherapy unit. It’s really made my friends and I think more about being aware of our bodies and being properly protected in the sun. I’ll always make sure I wear sunscreen from now on.”
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is the largest, networked cancer centre in the UK, operating a comprehensive network of world-class chemotherapy facilities, and delivers nearly 39,000 treatments to patients each year, from both its Wirral based site and a series of networked clinics across Merseyside and Cheshire.