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Specialist nurses provide support for incurable secondary cancer patients

THREE newly appointed specialist nurses are making a significant difference in the lives of patients battling incurable secondary breast and colorectal cancer. Donna Owen-Williams, Nia Whelan, and Katie Hughes have been selected as the Health Board’s first Metastatic Clinical Nurse Specialists, offering a much-needed lifeline to those facing the challenges of metastatic cancer.

Metastatic cancer occurs when cancer cells spread from the primary site to other parts of the body. While treatment options exist to manage the disease, improve patients’ quality of life, and extend their lifespan, a cure remains elusive. This is where the newly appointed nurses step in, providing essential support to patients as they navigate the physical and emotional complexities of the disease.

The primary responsibilities of the Metastatic Clinical Nurse Specialists include coordinating treatment and care, addressing patients’ concerns, and connecting them with relevant support services. These nurses serve as a vital point of contact for patients, offering guidance and assistance throughout their journey with metastatic cancer.

Donna Williams, the Metastatic Clinical Nurse Specialist for Ysbyty Gwynedd, expressed the importance of specialized support for patients with metastatic cancer. She said, “Our patients living with metastatic cancer require specialist support to address their complex needs and the uncertainty they face about the future. Our roles are helping to ensure they receive the best possible treatment and care.”

Nia Whelan, serving as the Metastatic Clinical Nurse Specialist for Glan Clwyd Hospital, emphasized the significance of personalized care for this patient group. She stated, “These are much needed nursing posts that will help us deliver true personalized care for their patients and will have an immediate and positive impact on people affected by cancer in our region.”

Katie Hughes, the Metastatic Clinical Nurse Specialist at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, acknowledged the existing gap in support for metastatic cancer patients. She remarked, “Our new roles will ensure that those with metastatic cancer have the dedicated support they need. Receiving a metastatic cancer diagnosis is distressing, and patients will have many questions and worries. We hope to alleviate some of those concerns by being a source of support from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.”

In addition to coordinating treatments and appointments, the specialist nurses also provide emotional and psychological support to patients and their families. Sian Hughes-Jones, Head of Nursing for the Cancer Division, emphasized the importance of these roles, stating, “The message from both patients and clinical teams was that there was a great need for these roles across the Health Board. I am very proud of the team and look forward to supporting them to deliver the best care and experience to our patients.”

With the addition of these specialized nurses, patients with metastatic breast and colorectal cancer can find solace in knowing that there is a dedicated team of professionals available to support them through their journey. The invaluable expertise and compassionate care provided by these nurses will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by this devastating disease.