Members of the NNUH Gynaecology Oncology team – photo supplied by NNUH
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been awarded the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (EGSO) certification for advanced ovarian cancer surgery.
The Norfolk hospital joins only two others in the UK, The Royal Marsden and Imperial College in London, and 14 institutions across Europe, in being honoured with the prestigious accreditation.
The ESGO certification is an award given to institutions which can offer patients the specific surgical skills, experience and facilities required to achieve optimal levels of care. Accredited hospitals must meet strict quality indicators with regards to surgery performed and organisational structure, including access to intensive care facilities and multidisciplinary support from advanced radiology and pathology clinicians.
The lifetime risk of women developing ovarian cancer in the UK is between 1-2%. Often symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer are not specific and can overlap with symptoms of benign conditions. As a result the majority of women (more than 70%) diagnosed with ovarian cancer present with advanced stage disease.
For this group of patients, cytoreductive surgery combined with chemotherapy is the cornerstone of the treatment. The aim of this surgery is to remove all visible disease in the abdomen and pelvis. This type of surgery is often complex requiring highly specialised skills, with procedures lasting up to 12 hours.
Gynaecology oncology specialists at NNUH treat around 60 patients each year for advanced ovarian cancers and surgery is the only modifiable factor affecting the long-term prognosis for these patients.
The Gynaecology Oncology team at NNUH consists of doctors and specialist nurses working closely alongside multidisciplinary colleagues in intensive care, colorectal, hepatobiliary, upper GI, radiology, pathology and medical oncology.
Dr Nikos Burbos, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at NNUH explains: “We are committed to providing the best possible treatments for our patients. We are currently looking into incorporating newer techniques such as intraperitoneal chemotherapy (delivery of chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity following the surgery) in the management of patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
“This award has been the culmination of more than five years of determined effort and has involved a large multidisciplinary team, spanning multiple specialties. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone involved and am delighted that NNUH has been recognised as one of only three centres in the UK providing this level of expertise.”
Mark Davies, NNUH Chief Executive, said: “This is an outstanding achievement for our Gynaecology Oncology team, providing international recognition of their dedication and advanced skills. We’re very proud of the range of services we offer cancer patients within our hospital and accreditations such as this highlight the exceptional care provided for patients at NNUH.”
This award comes as the VOiCE fundraising campaign, which aims to enhance care at the hospital for women going through, or having experienced, gynaecological cancer, is currently running at NNUH. Those wishing to support the campaign can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/nnuhnhs/voice