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Medical Oncology

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Welcome to Medical Oncology

CHEMOTHERAPY IN SOUTH DUBLIN

Please see More Information and click on the relevant links to be able to read about our consultants, services including access to patient booklets.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note you will need a referral letter from your GP to use any of the services of Beacon Hospital Cancer Centre

At the Beacon Cancer Centre, the patient is at the centre of all we do. Our mission is to provide holistic oncology care in a safe, comfortable, calm environment that offers all of the benefits of our state of the art technology.

Our institution provides the full range of cancer services so that patients do not have to leave the Beacon Campus for any oncology treatment whether it be oncology surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, scans, or alternative therapies provided by the Beacon Cancer Support Services.
We provide Medical Oncology Consultant delivered care that utilizes international standards of best practice. The patients that we see include:
  • Patients in whom a malignancy (cancer) is confirmed
  • Patients in whom a malignancy (cancer) is suspected and further investigation is needed
  • Patients who have been lost to follow up who carry a cancer diagnosis.

Our nursing model called relationship based care enables nurses to establish caring relationships with patients and their families. Our aim is to individually prepare and support each patient and family through the treatment process using our professional experience as well as our skills of communication, sensitivity, humour and honesty.

Our patients are the focus at the Beacon Cancer Centre. This is the philosophy that guides our actions and our clinical decisions.

CANCER WAITING TIMES:

Once a letter of referral is received by the consultant Medical Oncologist, the patient is contacted within 72 hrs, so that an appointment can be made.

DIAGNOSIS:

The process of cancer diagnosis at Beacon Hospital Cancer Centre is managed by a multidisciplinary approach.  In order to determine diagnosis patients will undergo a range of tests which may include the following;

• MRI Scan
• CT Scan
• PET-CT Scan
• Biospy
• X-ray
• Blood tests

Your First Appointment

Your oncologist will want to discuss your treatment with you after reviewing your medical records, x-rays, pathology slides, preliminary test results and after conducting a physical examination. This is when he or she may make preliminary diagnostic or treatment recommendations. He or she then may discuss your individual treatment needs with the other members of multidisciplinary team and explain to you any changes in the recommendations for your care. You may be asked to see additional oncology specialists or undergo additional tests at this time. If surgery is needed, you will be given instructions on any preoperative testing that may be required. Prior to surgery, you will meet your surgeon and discuss the planned procedure.

You will also meet the oncology liaison nurse who works closely with your oncologist to ensure that all of your questions and concerns are answered. This nurse is the person you should contact if you need any assistance in relation to additional queries or questions or if changes occur in your condition.

What to bring to your first appointment

To better understand your medical history and the treatment you have had to date, it is vital that you bring several items to your first appointment.  New patients referred from other centres should bring their medical records with them on the day of their appointment.  All patients should hand-carry their radiology films including xrays, CT scans, etc for physicians to review.  You may also need to hand-carry your pathology slides to have them reviewed by our expert pathologists.  You should allow adequate time for a thorough examination and expect to provide a complete medical history including current medications.  You may call your doctor’s office to discuss sending your records prior to your appointment.

• Medical records
Knowing your medical history and what treatments you have had to date is necessary when coming to the Beacon Hospital. Have your doctor make copies of your medical records (hospitalizations, office visits and treatments) and bring them with you or if possible ask your doctor to forward them on to your medical oncologist at Beacon Hospital.

• Referring physician information
Your oncologist will want to consult with your primary care and referring physicians regarding your disease to share the findings so that you may be offered the best course of treatment. Please bring the addresses and phone / fax numbers of your primary care and referring physicians with you to your first appointment. If you would like a copy of your report forwarded to other physicians, let us know their contact information.

• Medications:
Please bring with you a list of any medication that you are taking currently.

• X-rays:
Arrange to bring the actual x-ray films related to your diagnosis to your first appointment.  You can obtain these from the radiology department at the medical facility where your films were taken.

• Pathology slides and written reports:
If you already had a biopsy of suspicious tissue, it was sent to a lab where a pathologist has prepared slides to help your doctor make a diagnosis. It is important to bring the actual glass slides as well as the written pathology report to your first appointment. You may obtain these from the pathology department at the medical facility where your biopsy was taken

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Your first treatment

Before you start your treatment you will be contacted by a member of our oncology team to work with you to set a date to start your chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or novel therapy. When you arrive at the Beacon Hospital go to the reception desk on the ground floor, where the staff will direct you to the Beacon Cancer Centre on the 2nd floor.

Prior to your first visit you will be seen by the Oncology Liaison Nurse, who will provide education and information regarding your treatment plan. A relative or friend can accompany you for this visit. Please feel free to take them in with you. The entire process may take some time. It is best to allow a day for your first treatment visit.

You can eat and drink as normal before your appointment unless notified by the oncology team.

What to bring with you

It is helpful to have the following when you arrive:
• Name, address and phone number of the GP.
• Name, address and phone number of your local chemist.
• A list of any tablets or medicines you are taking, and any drug allergies.

Waiting to be seen
We try to ensure that you are seen at your appointment time. However, the time you spend with you doctor or nurse may vary according to your needs and occasionally can mean slight delays. You may be asked to come in the day before your treatment for a clinical review and a blood test.

Chemotherapy:
Chemotherapy treatment is the use of cytotoxic drugs to kill cancerous cells in the body. You may be given just one chemotherapy drug or a combination of different chemotherapy drugs to treat your cancer. There are almost 100 chemotherapy drugs in use today, and many new drugs are continually developed for use. The use of chemotherapy drugs is dependent on a number of factors;

• the type and location of your tumour,
• your past medical history and general fitness,
• and whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

The chemotherapy can be administered in a number of different ways. The most common being intravenously, (through a drip in the arm) or oral (tablet form). Your consultant will advise which method of administration is best suited to your cancer type. Sometimes chemotherapy is given to shrink the tumour size prior to surgery (neo-adjuvant), post surgery (adjuvant) or for symptom control (palliative). Chemotherapy can also be given to enhance the effects of radiation therapy. In addition to chemotherapy, your consultant may advise the use of monoclonal antibodies.

ONCOLOGY DAY UNIT:

At Beacon Hospital the dedicated oncology day unit (chemotherapy unit) is located on Level 2 of the hospital. The unit comprises of 12 treatment chairs and two clinic/procedure rooms.  All chemotherapy is given by specially trained oncology nursing staff.

The service has a high level of specialist pharmacy support with a new specially commissioned chemotherapy reconstitution facility.

The oncology day unit is open Monday to Friday from 0800- 1800 hrs. The staff can be contacted on 01-293-8676. For assistance outside of these hours patients are asked to phone the oncology inpatient floor on 01-293-7530 or 01-293-7503.

ONCOLOGY INPATIENT WARD:

The oncology inpatient ward is situated on level 6 of the hospital has beautiful views over Dublin Bay and Mountains. The ward has 27 beds, 12 private rooms, one isolation room and 7 rooms which are semi-private (2 beds). The oncology inpatient ward also has a quiet room which patients and their families may use. The room is also used to facilitate family meetings with consultants and other members of the oncology multidisciplinary team.

The inpatient unit cares for patients who are newly diagnosed through to patients who are receiving palliative treatment and radiation treatment. The contact numbers for the inpatient ward are:

01-293-7530 and 01-293 7503.

Multidisciplinary Approach

APPROACH TO CANCER CARE AT BEACON HOSPITAL

Our multidisciplinary approach to care provides the most comprehensive care for each person diagnosed with cancer. This approach allows us to utilize the skills of specialists in every discipline to determine the most effective and complete treatments for all types of cancer. Patients at Beacon Hospital directly benefit from this approach and are treated by a team of individuals who provide their depth of knowledge, skills and experience in both common and rare types of cancer. These teams are organized by the type and stage of the patient’s disease in order to give the most appropriate level of care. The cancer centre at Beacon Hospital provides all cancer unit services to the local and national population and has the ability to perform complex surgical, radiation and chemotherapy procedures.

Much of the cancer-related activity takes place on an outpatient basis. At Beacon Hospital we provide outpatient services that include specialists from medical oncology, radiation oncology, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, social services, nutrition, and health education. Not withstanding this, the hospital also has a 27 bedded inpatient floor where cancer patients requiring admission are cared for.

The multidisciplinary team members involved in patient care at Beacon Hospital Cancer Centre.

ONCOLOGY NURSING AT BEACON HOSPITAL:

At Beacon Hospital Cancer Centre, the patient is the focus of everything that we do. You will find our staff to be friendly and efficient, supportive and caring to all patients and their families. Our staff are high skilled, with many of our nurses holding post graduate qualifications in oncology nursing.

ONCOLOGY LIAISON AND ONCOLOGY SPECIALIST NURSES:

At Beacon Hospital, a team of oncology specialist nurses work closely with the medical oncologists and surgeons to provide a comprehensive plan of care for cancer patients. The specialist nursing team comprises of:

• Oncology Liaison Nurses
• Breast Care Clinical Nurse Specialists
• Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialist
• Chemotherapy Nurse Specialists.

ONCOLOGY NURSE COUNSELLOR:

Beacon Hospital is delighted to be able to offer the services of an oncology nurse counsellor to patients and their families who have embarked on the cancer journey. Our nurse counsellor is a trained oncology nurse, who has many years of experience working in medical oncology in addition to holding professional qualifications in the area of counseling. This facility is unique to Beacon Hospital, and is available to oncology patients attending the hospital (and their families or carers) by prior arrangement. If you would like to avail of the service, please do not hesitate to contact the oncology liaison nurses who will make the necessary arrangements for you.

ONCOLOGY PHYSIOTHERAPY AT BEACON HOSPITAL:

At Beacon Physiotherapy we pride ourselves in our excellence of healthcare delivery. A comprehensive package of physiotherapy care, combining thorough assessments with education, self help programmes and conventional physiotherapy treatments.

At Beacon Physiotherapy we have a clinical specialist physiotherapist with special interest in oncology and lymphoedema. Click on the Beacon Hospital homepage and follow the link to physiotherapy to learn more about our Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Oncology Care.

• Physiotherapy plays an important role in the holistic care of the cancer patient. Research has shown the importance of exercise and activity through treatment for cancer. Some cancer treatments and surgeries are accompanied by side affects such as fatigue, decreased activity and in some cases mobility. Specific side effects such as joint stiffness, muscle weakness and lymphoedema can also be experienced. Physiotherapy has been shown to play an important role in the management of these side effects.

Beacon Physiotherapists are in constant communication with the Oncology team including consultant oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and specialized nursing staff to ensure a holistic multi disciplinary approach to your care is provided.

ONCOLOGY PHARMACY AT BEACON HOSPITAL

Beacon Hospital has a dedicated oncology pharmacy team, who play an active role in the multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, this includes participation in ward rounds and multidisciplinary meetings, quality assurance, and the compounding of chemotherapy on site at the hospital.

CLINICAL GOVERNANCE OF CANCER SERVICES AT BEACON HOSPITAL – ONCOLOGY STEERING GROUP

The Oncology Steering Group at Beacon Hospital has an overview of cancer services within the hospital. The Steering Group meets on a quarterly basis, where cancer services, developments and issues are discussed. These meetings are attended by the cancer lead clinicians, members of the hospital’s senior management team, and members of the multidisciplinary team. The Oncology Steering Group at Beacon Hospital is responsible for the effective delivery of cancer services throughout the hospital, and coordinates the implementation of national standards and reforms with cancer services.

Dr Ray McDermott

Consultant Medical Oncologist
MB BCh BAO PhD MBA MRCPI

Dr Ray McDermott commenced his training in Medical Oncology at the Mater Hospital, Dublin during which time he completed an MBA in Health Services Management. He went on to The Institut Curie, Paris (2000-2002) where he completed a PhD in Tumour Immunology. He subsequently completed his clinical training at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia (2002-2004), where he furthered an interest in Genito-Urinary Oncology. During this training period, he published over twenty peer reviewed articles and Book Chapters. He took up a post as Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Adelaide Meath & National Childrens Hospital, Tallaght in July 2004.

In 2006, Dr McDermott was instrumental in establishing Ireland as a main member of the Eastern Co-Operative Group, the largest clinical trials group in the USA with over 70 active studies. Dr McDermott is the Principal Investigator for Ireland in this initiative and is involved in twice yearly meetings with ECOG to develop this relationship. Dr McDermott is currently Vice-Chair of ICORG, the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group.

Under the auspices of the National Cancer Control Programme and the establishment of ‘Centres of Excellence’, Dr McDermott’s public hospital commitment has recently been split between AMNCH and St Vincent’s University Hospital, where he pursues his interest in genito-urinary and pancreas cancers. Along with Dr Jennifer Westrup, he has been involved in the establishment and growth of the cancer services at Beacon.


 

Dr Jennifer Westrup

 

Dr. Westrup is the Director of Oncology, and a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Beacon Hospital. She is appointed Associate Clinical Professor at University College Dublin (UCD) and sits on the steering committee of the innovative UCD Beacon Academy. Dr. Westrup is the former Medical Director at Beacon Hospital.

Dr. Westrup joined Beacon Hospital in 2007 as the first full-time Medical Oncologist. She was appointed the Section Chief of Oncology under the new hospital operator: the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.

Dr. Westrup was a member of the original Beacon Hospital Board from 2007 – 2008, served as Chairperson of the Beacon Pharmacy/Therapeutics Committee for 3 years, and as the Director of Education for Beacon Hospital from 2008 – 2014.

She currently sits on the Clinical Governance Committee of the Beacon Hospital Board, and was an invited member of the International Quality and Patient Safety Committee of UPMC which has oversight for quality/patient safety in the UPMC international division. Dr. Westrup lectures on the UCD Risk Management Program.

Dr. Westrup is a member of Cancer Trials Ireland. Her past research on breast cancer has been presented at international conferences, and is published in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Westrup currently advises the Health Care Products Regulatory Clinical Sub Trials Committee. She is a member of the National Cancer Care Program, Melanoma Clinical Advisory Group.

Dr. Westrup graduated Cum Laude from Wake Forest University with a BSc in Biology and received her medical degree with honours at University College Dublin. She completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Boston University Medical Center, was Resident Teacher of the Year and awarded the CREST scholarship; a National Institute of Health Grant. She completed a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Boston University Medical Center and was honoured as Chief Fellow. Dr. Westrup is American Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.

HOW TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT THE BEACON HOSPITAL CANCER CENTRE:

A letter of referral is required in order that you receive an appointment with the Medical Oncologist.  Once this letter is received, the Oncology Administrator, Louise Farrell, will make contact with you by phone to arrange a clinic appointment for you attend.

Louise Farrell’s contact details:

Louise Farrell
Oncology Administrator
Oncology Day Unit, Level 2
Beacon Hospital, 
Sandyford
, Dublin 18

Office Hours:  0830 hrs – 1600 hrs. Monday to Friday

PHONE: 01-293-6028

FAX: 01-293-8620

Please note that if the phone line is busy, you may be asked to leave your contact details.  Please rest assured that you will be contacted promptly.