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Cancer Services

Updated 9 December 2021

Cancer services span lots of different departments within the hospital including surgery, medicine, theatres, radiology, outpatients, in-patient care and day-care amongst others.

In this section, we will focus on some of the core cancer services at Dorset County Hospital and will provide links to other services.

Cancer can broadly be divided into solid tumours and haematological malignancies.

Patients diagnosed with cancer (a solid tumour) will be managed by a number of different teams. Many patients will have an operation in order to help diagnose a cancer or to treat a cancer. This may involve radiology, surgeons and medical doctors. Some patients will go on and have other treatments including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy. These treatments are managed by oncologists.

At Dorset County Hospital, most of the oncologists travel from Poole Hospital where they are based at the Dorset Cancer Centre. Most oncology treatment is delivered in the outpatient and day case setting. Many patients are seen in outpatient clinics, either face to face or via telephone or video consultation.

Dorset County Hospital has the facilities to diagnose and treat a range of cancers including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cancer of Unknown Primary
  • Gynaecological cancer
  • Haematological cancer
  • Head and Neck cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Upper Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Urological cancer

Where particular or highly specialised treatments are required, patients are referred to the appropriate tertiary centre where those specialist services can be provided.

There are multidisciplinary teams for each type of cancer. These teams include colleagues such as:

  • Lead Cancer Clinician
  • Surgeons / Doctors
  • Oncologists
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Radiologists
  • Histopathologists
  • Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) facilitator
  • Palliative Care

These colleagues meet weekly to discuss each newly diagnosed case in order to agree the best treatment plan and next steps.

Dorset County Hospital also has a team of dedicated Clinical Nurse Specialists and Cancer Support Workers who are on hand to provide holistic, practical support, advice and guidance to people affected by cancer, including families and friends.

Haematological Malignancy

Patients diagnosed with a haematological malignancy are cared for by the clinical haematology team. We have four consultant haematologists based at DCH and also work closely with our colleagues in Poole, Bournemouth and Southampton Hospitals to provide care for patients with more complex haematology conditions. Many patients with a haematology malignancy often require input from other specialities such as radiology and surgery for biopsies to be taken.

Cancer Leadership Team

Dorset County Hospital has a lead clinician for cancer, a lead cancer nurse and a cancer service manager who work collaboratively and also with colleagues in the wider geographical region and with Clinical Commissioning Group representatives to help lead cancer services at Dorset County Hospital.

Fortuneswell Ward

Fortuneswell Ward is a 17 bed inpatient ward that accommodates patients who have complications of cancer or haematological disease or severe side effects of cancer treatment. More information is available here.

Fortuneswell Unit

Fortuneswell Unit is a day case unit where most chemotherapy and other systemic treatment are given. The unit is situated in the North Wing of the hospital. More information is available here.

Robert White Centre

The majority of cancer and haematology outpatient consultations are held in the Robert White outpatient building. This is a purpose built facility outside of the North Wing adjacent to the Damers Restaurant. The unit was funded through charitable funding. There is a lift and stairs within the building which gives access to the first floor where outpatient consultations take place.

The ground floor of the Robert White building accommodates a radiotherapy satellite unit. Many cancers are treated with radiotherapy and this service is managed and delivered by staff from the cancer centre at Poole Hospital. The majority of patients who require radiotherapy will have a planning appointment in Poole hospital and many will then be able to have their radiotherapy at the satellite unit at Dorset County Hospital. Unfortunately, there are limitations regarding the patients who can be treated at Dorset County Hospital with radiotherapy. Some of the more complex treatments still need to be given at the cancer centre at Poole Hospital.

Reflexology Service

We are fortunate to have a funded reflexology service that provides reflexology, therapeutic massage to patients with cancer. This is delivered by three trained reflexologists who visit patients on the Fortuneswell Unit, Fortuneswell Ward and Robert White Centre on a regular basis. Please speak to your clinical nurse specialist or one of the clinical team caring for you who can give you more details about this service.

Psychological Services

Cancer can evoke many emotions and feelings of distress and anxiety. Many of the clinical team are trained and able offer low level psychological support, including doctors, nurses and therapists. However, where psychological need is felt to be more complex, we are fortunate to be able to offer a counselling service. The service primarily provides one to one talking therapy for people affected by cancer, including close relatives, where the impact of the cancer is impacting them. Your clinical nurse specialist or doctor will be able to give you more information about this and make a referral if appropriate. 

Patient information leaflets

Please click here for an information leaflet for patients or their family members who require emotional support at diagnosis, during treatment or after treatment has finished.

Click here for an information leaflet on online therapeutic support workshops for people affected by cancer.

More patient information leaflets are available here.

Cancer health and wellbeing

For patients who live healthily with and beyond cancer.

The video below provides health and wellbeing information for patients, relatives and carers, aimed at supporting you to make healthier lifestyle changes and improve your quality of life. There are also more videos available on the Cancer Matters Wessex website which cover a range of topics including:

  • eating well and having a healthy lifestyle
  • emotional effects and how to get help if you need it
  • claiming benefits and other financial support
  • work and cancer
  • local services, such as support groups and local physical activity groups