Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
Our Passion, Your Care

Monday, 11 December 2017
Skin Cancer Services

Members of the hospital’s skin cancer multidisciplinary team including Dr Khalid Mahmood (front row middle), Mr Allan Bardsley (back row middle) and nurse Rachel Alexander (front row right).

Members of the hospital’s skin cancer multidisciplinary team including
Dr Khalid Mahmood (front row middle), Mr Allan Bardsley (back row middle) and nurse Rachel Alexander (front row right).

Each year Ipswich Hospital diagnoses and manages:

  • approximately 80 new patients with melanoma;
  • approximately 260 new patients with squamous cell carcinoma; and
  • approximately 1,050 new patients with basal cell carcinoma.

Ipswich Hospital offers a range of diagnostic, treatment and monitoring services for patients with skin cancer.

Diagnostic services

  • Diagnostic service by expert clinicians for pre-malignant and malignant skin lesions.
  • Dermoscopy of pigmented lesions.
  • Computerised Tomography (CT) scanning for clinical staging in advanced disease.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning for clinical staging in advanced disease.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning.
  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) guided ultrasound.
  • Skin biopsy.
  • All diagnostic work is fully audited.
  • All clinicians participate in peer review and appraisal.
  • Specialist links with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) service.

Treatment

  • Cryotherapy for pre-malignant and malignant lesions.
  • Topical 5-fluorouracil cream (Efudix), imiquimod cream for pre-malignant and malignant skin lesions.
  • Photodynamic therapy for pre-malignant and malignant lesions.
  • Excision of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma (MM).
  • Wider excision of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma (MM).
  • Radiotherapy of skin tumours.
  • Chemotherapy for metastatic skin cancers.
  • Management of metastatic skin cancers.
  • Access to Palliative Care.

Ipswich Hospital also has specialist links with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for treatment and management advice.

The management of skin cancer cases is reviewed in specialist weekly skin multidisciplinary team meetings with dermatologists, plastic surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and the skin cancer clinical nurse specialist as well as our patient pathway coordinator, in compliance with the NICE Improving Outcomes Guidance (2006, updated 2010).

Treatments available by referral to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust include:

  • mohs micrographic surgery for basal cell carcinoma (BCC);
  • lymph node dissection in appropriate patients; and
  • isolated limb infusion (ILI), treatment with chemotherapy to the affected limb, patient specific.

Information about the treatments available at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can be found at www.skincancersurgery.co.uk

Monitoring facilities available

  • Follow-up of patients with skin cancer in keeping with recognised national guidelines.
  • Surveillance of immunocompromised patients including transplant patients.
  • Counselling of patients.
  • Clinical photography to help with skin lesion surveillance.
  • Ongoing support is also available in the form of our Skin Cancer Support Group (please see the document at the bottom of the page).

Rachel Alexander, Macmillan Skin Cancer clinical nurse specialist.

Rachel Alexander, Macmillan Skin Cancer clinical nurse specialist.

The Macmillan Skin Cancer clinical nurse specialist
also known as a keyworker

The Macmillan Skin Cancer clinical nurse specialist, Rachel Alexander, is based at Ipswich Hospital within the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department and is recognised as the keyworker for patients with skin cancer.

The clinical nurse specialist/keyworker role involves:   

  • supporting patients and their family/carers within their treatment pathway, both emotionally and practically;
  • acting as a link between the patient, family/carer and members of the multidisciplinary team;
  • sharing information and advice on all aspects of cancer and cancer care;
  • liaising with other health professionals on behalf of the patient;
  • offering advice and information/explanation of treatment;
  • accessing advice from other healthcare professionals as required;
  • assisting with financial information, claims and grants and refer to appropriate specialist as appropriate;
  • acting as keyworker and transfering over care to appropriate healthcare professionals, when necessary;
  • counselling patients and family/carers and refering on, as necessary;
  • facilitating the Ipswich Hospital Skin Cancer Support Group (see leaflet below) meetings;
  • educating the general public, staff and ensuring personal continuing professional development; and
  • attending relevant local and national meetings.

You are welcome to telephone Rachel on 01473 704717, or e-mail her at rachel.alexander@ipswichhospital.nhs.uk if you have any questions or concerns in between follow-up appointments.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials aim to look at more effective treatments or aim to replace present treatments with ones that have fewer side effects. Most of our studies in skin cancer are in melanoma. The responsible clinician or Macmillan Skin Cancer clinical nurse specialist will be able to give you details of current trials.