Cancer information for people in south east Scotland

A very useful and informative site for anyone in Fife affected by cancer is that provided by SCAN – the South East Scotland Cancer Network.
This site has information which will benefit everyone affected; patients, families, and carers. It includes details of local services in the South East of Scotland for those who live in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife or Lothian, and links to national cancer websites.


Initial diagnosis and tests for cancer

Your GP will first ask about your general health and carry out a physical examination. If your GP suspects cancer, you'll usually be referred to a specialist at a hospital for further investigation.

You will need some investigations and tests so that the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) can diagnose, treat and monitor your condition.

Once all your investigations have been carried out, the results will be discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting. This will include specialists from the X-ray, pathology, oncology and surgery departments. All the doctors will use their specialist knowledge to make a decision about your diagnosis and treatment. Following this discussion they will meet with you and your family and recommend the most appropriate form of treatment for you.


The cancer specialist team

Surgeon

A surgeon will carry out your operation or surgical procedure, should one be necessary. Your surgeon will be a specialist in your particular type of cancer.

Oncologist

You will hear for a doctor who specialises in treating cancer patients. They have expert knowledge in chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. If necessary you will see an oncologist to discuss the advantages of chemotherapy and/or any other treatments or trials.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

These nurses provide information and support for you and your family throughout your care. They can help with any physical, emotional or social concerns you may have. They work as part of your specialist team to co-ordinate your care. We’ve produced a Fife Clinical Nurse Specialist leaflet to help you understand how these nurses can support you.

Once a plan has been made, a clinic appointment will be made for you to see a specialist as an outpatient. At each step your specialist nurse will outline what care and treatment options are available to you and explain anything you are uncertain or concerned about.


Types of Cancer Treatment

Surgery

Surgery is one of the main treatments for many types of solid cancer. You may have surgery as an inpatient or an outpatient (day surgery). Whether surgery is an option depends on:

  • the type of cancer you have
  • the size of the cancer and whether it has spread (the stage)
  • where the cancer is in your body
  • your general health

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer using high energy ionising radiation:

From outside the body as external radiotherapy, using X-rays from linear accelerator machines, electrons, and more rarely other particles such as protons.

From within the body as internal radiotherapy, by drinking a liquid that is taken up by cancer cells or by putting radioactive material in, or close to, the tumour.

Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT)

SACT encompasses both biological therapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy which may be administered intravenously and orally. This type of treatment is increasingly successful for solid tumours and haematological cancers.

What is Cytotoxic Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy refers to any systemic anticancer therapy which includes, monoclonal antibodies/targeted therapies, intravenous, subcutaneous, intrathecal and oral chemotherapy as well as topical treatments for bladder cancer. Hormonal treatment is excluded.

What is Biological Therapy?

Biological Therapies use the body's immune system to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies of new therapies. Before a new therapy can be accepted for routine use, its effectiveness and safety must be proven in clinical trials. Speak with a member of your health care team to see what trials, if any, may be suitable for you to consider.