Integrative medicine approach to treating cancer patients

By Louisa Davies, Senior Clinical Oncology Pharmacist at University College of London Hospital

I love my job! I’ve been a qualified clinical pharmacist for 12 years and am very fortunate to work at the wonderful Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital in London as a specialist oncology pharmacist. I find it immensely rewarding as every day is an opportunity to support someone along their cancer journey.

I have a personal interest in wellness and the growing use of supplements for health and over the past few years I have seen more and more patients adopting an integrative approach to their cancer care. At UCLH we recorded that around 35% of patients we saw in clinic were taking or wanted to start taking supplements to improve their side effects or boost their immunity whilst on anti cancer therapy. Read more Integrative medicine approach to treating cancer patients

Life as a consultant cancer pharmacist

steve williamson

Pharmacy has an important role to play regarding new and existing cancer treatments, we chat to Consultant Cancer Pharmacist and Chair of British Oncology Pharmacy Association, Steve Williamson MRPharmS (IPresc), MSc who explains his area of work in more detail.

What was your first contact with pharmacy as a profession?

When I was 16 I visited my local Hospital where my mum worked as an ITU nurse and met the clinical pharmacist who worked on her unit, after talking to him I decided that I wanted to be a hospital pharmacist. Read more Life as a consultant cancer pharmacist

Current EU rules restrict access to new, potentially life-saving cancer treatments in children

IMG_0636by Jackie Turner, Macmillan Principal Pharmacist Oncology & Haematology

Around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year.

But is there enough paediatric research to allow more testing of potentially life-saving cancer drugs?  

Currently, the EU Regulations allow pharmaceutical companies to opt out of children’s trials if a new drug is intended for an adult cancer that does not occur in children.

What does this mean? Read more Current EU rules restrict access to new, potentially life-saving cancer treatments in children

Do food supplements help or hinder cancer treatment?

By Steve Williamson, Consultant Pharmacist in Cancer Services

Last week, Professor Watson (one half of the Nobel prize winning team of Watson and Crick who co-discovered of the structure of DNA in 1953) published his new theory regarding the role of antioxidants in resistance of cancers to drug therapy.  His  hypothesis is that antioxidants found in blueberries, supplements and so called ‘superfoods’ taken to prevent cancer may actually be harmful in patients who already have cancer.

Read more Do food supplements help or hinder cancer treatment?

Aspirin and Cancer

By Rachel Airley, EPB Board member and Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology

There is now wealth of evidence from clinical trials that aspirin can not only prevent cancer, but can also slow the growth and spread of bowel cancers already present.  While the evidence is there, doctors and pharmacists have been somewhat reticent when it comes to recommending the wholesale use of aspirin in patients at risk, or already undergoing treatment for bowel cancer, due to fears that this will lead to side effects such as gastric ulcer or bleeding.

Read more Aspirin and Cancer

Can veterinary oncology guide us to new treatments for human cancer?

By Rachel Airley, EPB Board member and Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology

Thanks to the availability of pet insurance, more and more pet owners are able to get access to ever more sophisticated treatments, offering hope that for our furry friends diseases once considered untreatable will no longer be a death sentence.

Like humans, dogs and cats may develop cancer- in particular, bone, breast and skin cancers, as well as blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia. The human and animal versions of the disease share similar characteristics so this has led to vets specialising in cancer to wonder whether research into the development of cancer treatment for use in naturally occurring veterinary cancers may give us important information about the way cancers work. This could turn out to be an important stepping stone for developing new anticancer drugs for use in humans. Read more Can veterinary oncology guide us to new treatments for human cancer?

Aspirin – a cure all?

By Sotiris Antoniou, Consultant Pharmacist Cardiovascular Medicine, St Bartholomews Hospital, London

Every day there seems to be new research about aspirin, much of it contradictory. Interest in aspirin has never been greater, but is it really the cure-all it’s sometimes portrayed as in the media? And what should pharmacists be recommending to patients who come in self-medicating with low-dose aspirin? Read more Aspirin – a cure all?

Saving lives with early detection of lung cancer

Early detection of lung cancer saves lives. It’s as simple as that. Yet lung cancer is still the UK’s biggest cancer killer and survival rates have improved little since the 1970s. That’s why being aware of the key symptoms of lung cancer is so important. You need to recognise the symptoms to understand when you might need help. Read more Saving lives with early detection of lung cancer