We are committed to ensuring that patients can avail of the best treatment and care available by funding vital medical staff and equipment.
Our work in patient care ensures that anyone going through cancer has the best care available to them when they need it most. Friends of the Cancer Centre's doctors, clinical nurse specialists and nurses provide expert medical care and support to hundreds of patients each year. We also support the work of staff on the ground through the on-going funding of vital medical equipment, ensuring that doctors and nurses have the equipment they need to diagnose and treat patients.
Meet some of our wonderful staff below and read how they, as well as the vital equipment we support, are making a difference to patients.
Dr Suneil Jain
Consultant Clinical Oncologist
Dr Jain is a senior oncologist in the Cancer Centre and a Senior Lecturer at Queens University Belfast. His post has been funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre since 2013 and he specialises in the treatment of prostate cancer. He delivers advanced external beam radiotherapy and is one of two oncologists in Northern Ireland who treats patients with prostate brachytherapy. He also utilises chemotherapy and drug therapy in advanced prostate cancer and is involved in many clinical trials. His role is fully integrated with lab-based research at Queen’s University.
Read more about Dr Jain's work here.
Clinical Nurse Specialist for Breast Cancer
Elaine is a vital lynchpin in a patient’s care and she has been funded by the charity since 2011. Elaine, who is the Cancer Centre’s only breast cancer CNS, works with the consultant team and is the point of information, guidance and support for patients.
Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma
Laura Croan is a vital part of our specialist nursing team, providing a dedicated support system for lymphoma patients. The charity has also supported the establishment of Laura's own nurse led clinic, which has reduced patient waiting times in its first year.
Clinical Nurse Specialist for Teenagers and Young Adults
Renée is the point of contact for teenagers and young adults going through treatment. For many young people a cancer diagnosis can be a particularly worrying and confusing time, but Renée is on hand to provide a listening ear, information and guidance for these young people.
Teenage and Young Adult Nurse
Rachel joined the team in 2017 as part of the expansion of the Teenage and Young Adult Service. She will work alongside our CNS Renee to deliver specialist and age appropriate care to young people with cancer across Northern Ireland.
Renal / testicular Nurse
Melanie is one of the latest additions to our nursing team. Melanie specialises in kidney and testicular cancer, working closely with urology consultants to offer vital care and support to patients. Melanie is working towards establishing her own nurse led clinics which will allow her to see more patients and help reduce waiting times.
Friends of the Cancer Centre's Urology Nurse
Shelley specialises in supporting men with prostate cancer and she is on hand to offer advice, guidance and support throughout a patient's treatment. Shelley also holds health and wellbeing events for men who have finished their treatment, ensuring they have the information and support they need post treatment.
Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist
Stephanie supports patients with lung cancer and those important to them.Her role covers the whole patient pathway, from education, diagnosis, treatment, follow up, palliative care and end of life care. She is a link between all clinical teams, ensuring patients have access to expert help throughout their cancer journey.
Head & Neck Clinical Nurse Specialist
Claire joined us in 2017 and she is a vital source of support for patients dealing with head and neck cancer. She is an important link between clinical teams, ensuring patients have access to the right care and support when they need it. Her own nurse led clinics will allow her to see more patients with this complex cancer.
Lung Cancer Nurse
Rebecca acts a key worker for patients with lung cancer to support them at all stages of diagnosis and treatment, right through to end of life care. Rebecca works closely with the multidisciplinary lung cancer team to ensure that each patient is given access to expert knowledge and care throughout their cancer journey.
CNS Support Worker
Caroline works closely with our CNSs in urology and head and neck cancer to deliver and co-ordinate patient care. As well as signposting patients to support services available, Caroline ensures patients have a constant line of communication with their oncology team and helps to improve the overall patient experience.
Janine provides support to patients who are at risk of malnutrition with a particular focus on patients with pancreatic and oesophageal cancer. She monitors a patient's weight and dietary intake to optimise nutrition during and after treatment, which will in turn improve survival rates and quality of life for patients.
3D Breast Imaging System
Local breast cancer patients are benefitting from a new state of the art 3D breast imaging system thanks to Friends of the Cancer Centre. The new 3D breast imaging system will play a vital role in helping women considering reconstructive surgery after mastectomy and this particular model is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
Investing in specialist nursing
In addition to its Clinical Nurse Specialist Programme, Friends of the Cancer Centre also invested in the training and development of local nurses through its pilot Clinical Nurse Specialist Development Programme. Many of the nurses in the programme have since gone on to take up specialist nursing posts.
A syringe driver is a small pump which releases a dose of painkiller and other medications at a constant rate. For many patients, some undergoing end of life care, a driver will help them manage their pain as well as give comfort and peace. Friends of the Cancer Centre has purchased several new drivers for wards in the hospital in recent years, allowing staff to offer drivers to more patients.
With the increasing volume of patients coming through the Cancer Centre, staff noted that there was often a shortage of thermometers, leading to delays in monitoring patients. To meet this need, Friends of the Cancer Center has purchased a number of thermometers throughout the hospital, ensuring that staff have the equipment they need to meet demand.
Monitoring a patient's blood pressure and pulse is central to the work of nurses throughout the hospital, but recent years have seen a shortage in observation machines. Friends of the Cancer Centre has purchased new observation machines throughout the Cancer Centre that allow nurses to carry out this vital part of their work.
Ensuring that patients have access to new and up to date machines is a key priority for staff and in 2015 we funded the replacement of an ultrasound scanner which had been in service for a number of years. The new machine will improve image quality, reduce scanning times and increase capacity for oncology referrals.
New Bridgewater treatment room
Anyone who has been to the Bridgewater Suite will know that space can often be an issue for patients and staff, so we were approached to fund a new treatment room we were more than willing to help. The new room has more treatment chairs which has been able to increase patient capacity and reduce waiting times.
Investing in excellence
The Cancer Centre is home to some of the finest staff in the UK and supporting their training and development is key to ensuring our patients get the best care. In recent months we have funded staff attendance at study days, conferences, events and even purchased laptops for nurses to carry out their vital work.
Health and wellbeing events
Offering patients access to information about their cancer and support on how to live and deal with its side-effects of is really important to us and the staff in the Cancer Centre. That's why we fund several health and well being events designed for specific cancer types, including testicular cancer and lymphoma.