Your first Visit to the Gynaecological Cancer Centre
In most cases your first visit will be to the Joint Oncology Clinic (JOC) which is situated on the 3rd floor of the Rosenheim Building in 2012, this facility will move to the Cancer Centre, which is currently being built. You may have already been seen elsewhere in UCLH or been referred from one of the unit hospital.
Before coming to the clinic, you may have been telephoned by the co-ordinator, Tim Milne or one of his colleagues to confirm your appointment and give you directions or you may have received this information by post. It is a good idea to bring a close friend, partner or family member with you to the consultation if you can.
The Joint Oncology Clinic is staffed by the members of the multidisciplinary team including surgeons, oncologists, clinical nurse specialists, researchers and research nurses.
You will be seen by a surgeon or oncologist first. A clinical nurse specialist (MacMillan Nurse, Keyworker) may be present at the consultation or she may see you and your family/supporter(s) after you have seen the doctor.
The doctor will take some details from you and may examine you. He or she will explain your diagnosis to you. If you need to come in for surgery, the doctor will give you a date that is convenient for you. Sometimes the diagnosis may be uncertain and the doctor will explain this and what tests are required to help confirm the diagnosis. You should make sure you understand everything the doctor has told you and ask as many questions as you need to.
If you need additional scans, we try as much as possible to organise them on the same day. Thus you may have to attend a scan appointment after you leave the clinic.
If you are coming in for surgery, you will require pre-assessment which we try as much as possible to organise on the same day.
It may feel like you are having a lot of tests and scans in one day but we organise it this way so you do not have to make several journeys to UCLH. If you feel it is too much for you to have all these tests on the same day, let your clinical nurse specialist know and other arrangements can be made.
Prior to your operation, you will see a nurse at a "pre-assessment appointment". Please inform the nurse of any medical conditions you have as this may affect the preparation required for your operation. Please bring all your medications with you to this appointment, and make sure you know which medications to stop before surgery.
Coming in to hospital for surgery
If you are having a minor procedure, you will often be admitted to hospital on the day of surgery and allowed to go home a few hours after surgery. Your team will see you prior to surgery and confirm that you understand the planned procedure. You may occasionally be asked to stay the night. This is most likely to happen if you live alone or have other medical conditions and you will usually have been warned of this at your pre-assessment visit.
For more major procedures, you may be admitted the day before surgery. You may have to wait in a waiting area before your hospital bed is available. The anaesthetist and the surgical team will usually see you the day before surgery. If there is anything that needs clarifying please ask, although we advise that you make sure you are clear about the proposed surgery at the time of signing your consent in the clinic.
If you are having a particularly major procedure or you have other health problems, you may be admitted to the high dependency unit after surgery. This is to ensure you receive specialist care to keep you safe. You will be told about this prior to surgery.
In preparation for your stay on the ward we advise that you bring
the following items with you:
- Sanitary pads
- Underwear (full briefs)
- Any medications that you are currently taking
- Books, magazines and puzzles
- Money for the shop, TV and telephone.
You will be seen daily following your operation by the doctors and nurses. Your operating team will discuss the operation with you. If there is something you are unclear about, please ask.
During most operations you will have a catheter (a tube that drains your bladder) inserted. This is generally removed after one or two nights. You may also have a drip in your arm which is removed when you start drinking enough water.
Depending on your operation and dependent on your needs, you may be sent home with some painkillers and some preparations to help open your bowels.
We use dissolvable stitches or glue in most cases so there are no stitches to remove.
If we expect that you will need chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment, we may organise special blood tests and scans in preparation for this.
We would generally recommend that you take a relatively light and healthy diet for the first few days following surgery. The ward nurses can give you more advise on this.
You will be given specific instructions about what you should or should not do at home depending on whether your surgery was key hole (laparoscopic) or open.
Please ask any member of the medical or nursing team if things are not clear.