Hampshire nurse becomes first UK Peritoneal mesothelioma specialist
By Warren Miller. 6th November 2018
A Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust nurse has become the UK’s first specialist nurse for this rare asbestos-related cancer.
In the UK there are around 2,600 people diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Most of these will be pleural (lungs) mesothelioma, Peritoneal mesothelioma is a much rarer type of the asbestos related cancer.
Mesothelioma is a tumour of the mesothelium. This membrane has different names in different parts of the body.
The mesothelium membrane that covers the abdomen is known as peritoneum and Mesothelioma that starts in this area
is called peritoneal mesothelioma.
The peritoneum has 2 layers. The inner layer covers the abdominal organs and the outer layer covers the wall of the abdomen. The peritoneum helps protect the organs in the abdomen and keep them in place. When mesothelioma develops in the peritoneum, the layers of the peritoneum thicken and fluid collects.
Samantha Westbrook is the first nurse of her type in the UK to take up the role of peritoneal mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist.
She is based at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, with the funding for the role being provided by national charity Mesothelioma UK.
She will be integrated into NHS front-line services, to ensure specialist mesothelioma nursing is available at the point of need.
The majority of Peritoneal mesothelioma patients are treated with chemotherapy. Surgery is also an option is available for some patients, typically younger patients or where the cancer is in the early stages.
Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital is the largest centre in the world for treating patients with malignancies of the peritoneum, including peritoneal mesothelioma. This has made it an obvious base for Samantha Westbrook, who has spent the last 5 years working as a lung cancer nurse with the trust, dealing with pleural mesothelioma and oncology.
In her role at the hospital, Samantha will work with the nationwide peritoneal malignancy multi-disciplinary team to support,
advise and signpost Peritoneal Mesothelioma patients and their families from across the UK. She will also assist in the evaluation of the potential effectiveness of other treatments that are not currently commissioned by the National Health Service.
“ I’m bringing experience in critical care, lung cancer and oncology to this new role and am really looking
forward to specialising in this particular area.
My appointment will enable me to fully support Peritoneal Mesothelioma patients in a ‘key worker’ capacity to ensure that
they get the best attention possible.
I’m also interested in looking at the research side of the patient diagnosis and journey, and seeing how this data can help to
influence my role and our approach to treating Peritoneal Mesothelioma over time. ”
Julie Dawes, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, said:
“ We are delighted to have been able to appoint Samantha to this new role and we are very grateful to
Mesothelioma UK for providing the funding to make it happen. Having the UK’s first specialist nurse in this particular form of cancer will make a big difference not only for patients in Hampshire, but across the entire country. ”