Press release posted 12 July 2023
Myeloma patients at The Christie at Macclesfield are set to benefit from a more holistic service, with increased support for older patients with frailty.
Patients with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer that can affect multiple areas of the body, such as the spine, skull, pelvis and ribs, who are having chemotherapy will be eligible for the new holistic clinic.
The myeloma team at The Christie at Macclesfield is working alongside the new specialist service from The Christie, the Senior Adult Oncology Team, to assess and support older patients with complex needs undergoing chemotherapy. This is believed to be the first holistic multiple myeloma clinic of its kind in the UK.
The Christie’s Senior Adult Oncology Service was launched in 2022. The service is an outpatient-based service providing a range of assessments and support for older patients with frailty and complex needs, with the aim of delivering better care and improving patient outcomes.
This new service was launched initially to lung cancer patients at The Christie in Withington but has since expanded to cover other patient groups, including, from January 2023, myeloma patients treated by The Christie at Macclesfield.
The new Senior Adult Oncology service is part of The Christie’s strategy, with the Trust committing to meet the needs of an ageing population, supporting patients to receive expert care closer to home.
Myeloma patients attending The Christie at Macclesfield will be seen there by consultant haematologist Dr Faye Sharpley, who will seek patient consent for a referral to The Senior Adult Oncology team when appropriate.
The Senior Adult Oncology Unit is led by consultant medical oncologist Dr Fabio Gomes.
The specialist team makes a comprehensive assessment and can then offer a range of short and medium-term support measures to help patients during treatment. This might include addressing a large number of patient medications (polypharmacy), promoting exercises with a physiotherapist, adaptations recommended by an occupational therapist, dietary changes and enhanced support in the community.
Steve Golby, 68, is one patient hoping to benefit from the new service.
The retired chartered accountant from Nantwich was diagnosed with a rare and complex condition called AL Amyloidosis in November 2020. The disease is closely linked to myeloma, with only around 500 cases a year nationally.
“The Amyloidosis affects several different organs in my body”, he said. “A side effect of the disease and the chemotherapy treatment I’m taking is that I’ve got a poor appetite, altered taste, and difficulty eating, so I hope this new service will offer me some support from a dietitian via the Senior Adult Oncology Team.
“I think this new holistic service for myeloma patients at The Christie at Macclesfield is a wonderful idea and will help so many patients like me. It is good to know that the whole team is there to help me manage the consequences of my disease and, hopefully, to have a better quality of life.”
Steve has already been referred to the Senior Adult Oncology Team and had a telephone assessment followed by a face-to-face consultation with the team to discuss any interventions they feel may be of benefit.
Dr Faye Sharpley said: “This will offer more holistic care to myeloma patients attending The Christie at Macclesfield. I am so pleased that we have been able to team up with the Senior Adult Oncology team to access additional support for myeloma patients when it is needed.”
Dr Fabio Gomes added: “This service will hopefully enable more older patients to benefit from treatments, which may be adapted, and complete these as planned, reducing unplanned hospital admissions and improving patient experience and quality of life.”
Jess Turner, clinical practice services programme manager at blood cancer charity Myeloma UK, said: “Myeloma is a complex cancer that can be very challenging to manage, so supporting patients is not just about treating the disease itself.
“They need support from a range of different services, from physiotherapy to pain management, to help them deal with side effects, bone damage and kidney or mobility issues - not to mention the emotional toll of being diagnosed with an incurable cancer.
“The new holistic myeloma clinic will help patients to live well with their disease for as long as possible, and we hope other hospitals around the country follow the example of The Christie at Macclesfield.”