Our lead cancer nurse Julie Hoole has collected a top award at the RCNi (innovation) awards in London for her research work supporting patients with head and neck cancers.
She collected her award from GMB presenter Kate Garraway on stage at the Park Plaza, Westminster.
Julie has been researching how clinicians can support head and neck cancer patients on psychological and physical issues of intimacy and sexual relations. This kind of support is already provided to patients with gynaecological and prostate cancers but so far there has been nothing for head and neck and cancer patients.
Julie said: “ It may be that after treatment a patient may never be able to kiss their partners the same way again or be intimate orally and that is very difficult situation to be in. Treatment can leave them with dry mouths and reduced mouth opening and jaw function and this needs recognising and support needs to be offered.”
She said it has only recently emerged as an issue as, whereas head and neck cancer patients were traditionally people in their 70s and 80s and above, but due to the HPV virus, younger people in their 20s and 30s are now presenting with the cancer and we need to support people with intimacy and sexual function after head and neck cancer.
Julie said: “There are lots of ways we can assist patients with hints and tips. When the research has been written up, an educational package will be available to help colleagues across the NHS. It should have a huge clinical impact on patients everywhere and I thank-all our patients who have assisted me with their feedback.”
Head of Research and Development Asifa Ali, said: "Jules' research is ground-breaking and likely to have national/international use – the research is not yet complete but soon to be. She is the Chief Investigator and CHFT have sponsored the study.
** On a sad note, Julie will be leaving us in July to join Macmillan as their Strategic Partnership Manager for Yorkshire after 29 years with the NHS.