UKONS launches Fundamentals of Cancer Care

3 November 2022

By Flora Dangwa

The delayed and much anticipated UKONS Fundamentals of Cancer Care was launched on the 24th of October 2022, at Guys and St Thomas with both in-person and virtual attendance. The event was organised by Guys Cancer Academy and UKONS. The morning session was introduced by Dr. Verna Lavender, the Director of Guys Cancer Academy, followed by presentations from Mark Foulkes, current President of UKONS and Nurse Consultant/Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Karen Campbell, Macmillan Associate Professor in Cancer Care, of Edinburgh Napier University, and the book’s EBN publisher Duncan Enright.

As a cancer nurse and educator, I followed the days’ programme listening to contributing authors present, going through their chapters to gain a better understanding of how the book came about and considering how I can use it within my professional capacity. Listening to each of the contributing authors speak, I appreciated how Mark Foulkes and Dr Lavender worked to bring together a stellar line up of some of the most experienced experts in cancer on a wide range of subjects.

Fundamentals of Cancer Care has 27 chapters, so it was impossible to cover all of these in a one-day book launch. What was presented was an excellent overview of a new book on cancer, ideal for nurses new to the speciality. Of the many books written on cancer, ‘Fundamentals of Cancer Care’ stands out as an essential resource for cancer nurses and other healthcare professionals searching for a book that covers theory and practical aspects of cancer in just 267 pages including the index.

Listening to the each of the contributing authors speak, it was easy to appreciate their experience and expertise on subjects ranging from cancer biology to cancer nurse’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the introductory remarks by Dr Verna Lavender, Mark Foulkes went through the early chapters of the book, covering building blocks of cancer, diagnosis and treatment modalities. Dr Karen Campbell discussed using the book to support education for cancer care staff. She gave a detailed educational roadmap of the Aspirant Cancer Career Education and Development Framework (ACCEND), and how the book might be employed pre- and post-registration as well as in ‘top-up’ programmes. She concluded by describing the book “as a lecturers dream for practice and education”.

The morning’s presentations concluded with the publisher Duncan Enright explaining how working with UKONS will improve patient care. A question-and-answer session drew a wide range of questions from the audience and informative answers from the panel.

The afternoon’s programme was kicked off by Gary Hooker, a cancer patient appearing via video, to share his patient story. Gary’s presentation served as a reminder that patient stories go beyond just being narratives or case studies but are a fundamental reality of cancer care. Their inclusion in almost every chapter was explained by Dr Verna Lavender, who shared the platform with Gary to talk about why patient stories were included as components of the book. Their presence is one of the most appealing aspects of the book, because it is relatable and applicable to cancer care.

Hillary Baker, a lead nurse for Uro-oncology went through cancer pathways, reminding us the vital role of the CNS within cancer pathways. Sandie Wellman (Lead for Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professionals Research Delivery, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and Annie Croudass (Lead Research Nurse at Cancer Research UK) gave their insights on clinical research. Having worked as a research nurse myself, I was reminded of the importance of clinical trials and how the topic fits in nicely within the book giving it that added element of what makes the book holistic. Phillipa Jones (Acute Oncology Nurse Advisor) gave an impassioned talk on acute oncology, reminding everyone in the room why acute oncology is crucial in managing cancer patients. Dr Claire Taylor (Nurse Consultant and Chief Nursing Officer for Macmillan) presented her chapter on ‘Living With and Beyond Cancer’ and why this is such an important subject as people live longer with a cancer diagnosis.   Dr Verna Lavender stood in for Nellie Kumaralingam (Nurse Consultant in Melanoma at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust) to explain immunotherapies and its side effects, and finally Liz Flannery (Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust) covered principles of palliative care.

The launch of ‘Fundamentals of Cancer Care’ gave me an exciting experience of listening to and understanding authors providing their perspective on expert subjects. It also illustrated the value of what I think is one of the most complete resources covering the multi-faceted and complex aspects of cancer care in a simple and understandable way.

Finally, I would say for nurses and healthcare professional looking at gaining new insights outside their tumour specific areas, I recommend ‘Fundamentals of Cancer Care’.

Flora Dangwa is the SACT Course Lead at Guy’s Cancer Academy