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Specialist nurses can play a key role in supporting patients having radiotherapy
Date:6/9/2008

and supporting patients with complex symptoms" says Dr Wells.

"We also believe there is considerable potential to develop the assessment and care of patients with head and neck cancer before and after treatment as well as during radiotherapy.

"Clinical nurse specialists are ideally placed to provide information and advice on issues like health education, smoking cessation and alcohol consumption, to help reduce the impact of the patient's symptoms and improve their quality of life.

"They could also provide support, community liaison and symptom management immediately after treatment when patients are no longer in day-to-day contact with the hospital but the side effects continue to affect their daily life."

However the researchers point out that the potential to develop nurse-led radiotherapy clinics across the UK is hampered by a lack of investment in radiotherapy nursing.

"Nurses working in radiotherapy are relatively few and far between, postholders often work in isolation and their contribution has not been sufficiently acknowledged" says Dr Wells.

"We hope that our study, and the service developments it has inspired, will stimulate a debate about the valuable role that nurses can play in supporting cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.

"We also hope that it will highlight the need for greater investment in this valuable speciality."


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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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