Dan Monnery: the nature of cancer care is changing
The nature of cancer care is changing. People with incurable cancer are achieving much longer survival due to improved treatments and earlier diagnoses. The way we support them needs to change as well. There is increasing emphasis on supportive care alongside anticancer treatment, aimed at managing the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment which can often equate to managing cancer like a chronic disease.
Finding the ideal model of supporting people through long term treatment in the face of incurable cancer however isn’t easy. As the former NHS England National Clinical Advisor for Enhanced Supportive Care (ESC), I supported pilot sites across England. We designed services to support patients and enabled patients and those important to them to access holistic support much earlier and for much longer following a diagnosis of incurable cancer.
As different models of ESC emerged across the country, we have seen a real diversity in how these services have developed - all based around the needs of local patients. As we design appropriate supportive care services for the future, our work now focusses on what these services have in common and what makes them effective in achieving optimal patient outcomes.