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Cancer services - Covid-19 information

Cancer services

We want you to know that transmission of COVID at CUH is very low, and both patients and staff are being routinely tested for the virus. You are encouraged to come in for your scheduled appointment and not delay further. If you have concerns about COVID risks, please contact your treating team. When you do come in, please bear in mind that we are trying to minimise the number of visitors to keep patients and staff safe, so please attend on your own if possible. A companion is welcome to wait in the car park or outside of the hospital, and join you at a time agreed with your clinical team. If you need support to attend, please arrange this in advance with your clinical team.

Non-urgent advice: March 2021 Update

Due to the current third COVID wave, we may need to cancel or change your appointment (face to face and virtual).  This is due to the need to deploy staff to other areas of the hospital.  You will be contacted if this needs to happen.  Please be assured, we are following government guidelines and only changing appointments if it is safe to do so.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

If would like more information about Covid vaccines for cancer patients please see this helpful link from Cancer Research UK.  There are FAQs at the bottom plus an option to print the page.  If you have any further questions please contact your treating team.

Urgent advice: Covid swabs required prior to treatment

For patients attending the oncology and haematology day units.

You will be asked to undertake a Covid swab test 72 hours prior to your first treatment.

Options for a Covid swab tests are:

  • Via post (minimum 72hrs prior to treatment).  Please see this leaflet below (Covid - home test letter - Cancer Services) for details; 
  • At the hospital if attending for another outpatient appointment;
  • At the drive through service at Magog Court, Hinton Way, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 3AB, open 8:30am to 3:30pm.

One of these options will be booked for you.  If you believe you need a Covid swab test and have not been contacted 96 hours / 4 days prior to treatment, please ring the Oncology Day Unit on 01223 217099 or Haematology Day Unit on 01223 217720.

For radiotherapy patients.

When you attend for your planning CT scan, we will undertake a COVID swab test. This will be repeated when you attend for your first treatment and every two weeks while you attend for Radiotherapy treatment. If you have any queries regarding the process please call Radiotherapy on 01223 216634.

If you test positive for Covid, we may need to change your treatment schedule or location.

A member of the administrative team will contact you to make any new arrangements as required.

Non-urgent advice: Location for receiving chemotherapy

A large part of the Oncology Day Unit still remains an assessment area for cancer patients. Therefore a small part of the Oncology Day Unit has reopened for some treatments. All patients requiring chemotherapy or treatment will be contacted and booked to either Oncology or Haematology Day Unit.  

The Haematology Day Unit is in a separate block opposite the main entrance to the hospital. You do not need to enter the main hospital. From the main hospital entrance as you face it turn right and follow the walk-way all the way down to the Haematology Day Unit entrance. 

Non-urgent advice: Timing and location of the blood test service

The following options are available for patients requiring a blood test:

Newmarket Road Park-n-Ride

This drop-in service is available between 09:30 and 16:30, Monday to Fridays, to anyone who has medical paperwork or a request on the hospital computer system confirming that they need a blood test. Anyone without this, will be turned away. You can read more here . We encourage patients to use this service to keep the number of patients entering the hospital at a minimum.

Oncology & Haematology Outpatients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital 

In order to maintain social distancing in the waiting area an appointments system will be operating. To book an appointment, call the Administration team on 01223 216551. However, for bloods immediately prior to face to face appointments, patients can attend the clinic for bloods 1 hour prior to their appointment time without a booking. Following their blood tests, patients may then be asked to leave the area in order to manage numbers in the waiting area; they can then return to the waiting area 10 minutes prior to their clinic appointment time.  

GP Surgeries or Local Hospitals

If you have an agreement for your bloods to be taken at your GP or local hospital, please inform your clinical team and ask them to place an order for external bloods and either give you in person or by post a printed form detailing the tests that need to be taken. When attending for the blood test at the GP or local hospital please ask them to report results to the administration team add-tr.Oncocladmin@nhs.net, please note this is a ‘no-reply’ email address, 24-72 hours before your appointment time.  

Ely Pilot Scheme

From 19th February 21, a pilot scheme offers appointments for patients in the local area at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely on Fridays between 8:30am – 4:00pm. 

For bloods prior to a phone or video consultation, patients will need to have their bloods taken 24-72 hours prior to their booked consultation. 

A member of the administration team will contact you to make arrangements to have your bloods taken and you will be offered attendance at the above sites. If you have not heard from anyone 72 hours prior to your clinic appointment, please call the Administration team 01223 216551 who will be happy to assist.  

Non-urgent advice: Imaging Services  (X-ray, CT, MRI, PET, Ultrasound)

Due to COVID19, the Imaging Department is experiencing a reduction in its normal capacity. This is to keep patients and staff safe. Extra resources to support are being arranged. Patients may be sent appointments to be scanned at other locations such as independent hospitals and vans. The Department is continuing to see patients for urgent diagnostic tests, but there are waiting times for surveillance scans. It is really important that patients accept appointments at other locations as the Department does not know when patients can be booked to attend Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

To reduce risks for patients waiting for surveillance scans, the Imaging Department and Clinical Teams are continually reviewing patients on waiting lists and prioritising scans for those at higher risk of a cancer recurrence. Due to numbers involved it is not possible to keep all of those waiting informed of their likely scan date and time. Please feel assured that you will receive a date at a time in the future; however, if you become concerned contact your clinical team for information and support. 

Non-urgent advice: Delays to surgery

There may be surgery delays because our COVID safety approach means we have had to reduce capacity  e.g. allowing time for deep cleaning. We are addressing this by using theatres in private hospitals but capacity is not back to normal. Patients waiting are being reviewed on a case by case basis by their treating team and prioritised accordingly.  If your surgery has been delayed and you experience new symptoms or feel concerned, please contact your treating team.  

January 2021 Update:  Due to the current third COVID wave, we may need to postpone your surgery.  Please be assured that all surgery patients are risk assessed and prioritised according to government guidelines.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Non-urgent advice: Cancer Support Team

Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak the Cancer Support Team has temporarily altered how it supports patients during their experience of cancer.

The team can be contacted Monday to Friday, 09:00-16:00, on 01223 274801. We are expecting a higher than average number of calls, so please leave a message if you cannot get through and we will endeavour to call you back as soon as possible.

The Macmillan Cancer Support Team at Addenbrooke’s can now be contacted online and can support you with any non-medical issues you may be dealing with as a result of a cancer diagnosis or the cancer treatment you are going through. See https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/our-services/cancer-services/cancer-support-services/. You can also contact the team by email on add-tr.Information-Support@nhs.net. This account is checked daily and we will make every effort to respond as quickly as possible to any queries.

For any clinical enquiries, please contact your clinical team as normal.

For financial or benefits advice, please contact the Macmillan benefits advisors on 0345 600 6257 or macmillanbenefits@suffolk.gov.uk

For further support you can access the main Macmillan website on www.macmillan.org.uk or contact them on 0808 808 0000. 

Non-urgent advice: Government advice for extremely vulnerable people

The UK Government has issued guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. 

This includes people:

  • with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy;
  • with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer;
  • with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment;
  • having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer;
  • having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors;
  • who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.

If you were shielding you may need support. A Countywide Hub may be able to provide support if you don’t have friends, family or neighbours to help, please visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus  or call 0345 045 5219.  District and City Councils also have information on their websites about local hubs and how people can get in touch and access help and support

At Addenbrooke’s, shielding patients should seek advice from their treating team or GP to discuss the best way to shield or transition from shielding based on individual needs and treatment.

Helpful documents and links

Frequently Asked Questions (see below) – generated by the Cancer Patient Partnership Group

Macmillan Cancer Support has specific information on the coronavirus for cancer patients and has developed a COVID19 Offer.  

It includes:

Teenage Cancer Trust

Cancer Research UK also has specific information for cancer patients. 

It includes:

  • How can cancer and treatment weaken immunity?
  • What’s the advice for people with cancer (who have no symptoms of coronavirus)?
  • What do I do if I have symptoms?

Cancer Care Map - Search by postcode for cancer support services in your area.

East of England Cancer Alliance - Frequently Asked Questions in response to COVID-19 for cancer patients