Caring for people with lung cancer

Posted on Mon, 10/07/2017 by Michelle Barclay, Macmillan Lung Cancer Nurse

I first became interested in helping people to deal with the terrible effects of cancer following the death of my father who sadly passed away due to lymphoma.

I worked in both respiratory medicine and in palliative care at a local hospice and this led to my particular interest in caring for patients with lung cancer. It is a devastating disease with around 41,500 people being diagnosed in the UK each year.


“Supporting patients and their families”


My role is to assess and support patients and their families, ensuring that their physical, social and emotional needs are appropriately assessed throughout their cancer journey - from pre-diagnosis to survival or end-of-life. 

I aim to help to guide them through the initial investigations, which is important as two thirds of people are diagnosed at a stage when curative treatment is no longer an option.

I also try and help them to understand how such a diagnosis will impact on their lives. At a time of such uncertainty and anxiety it is good for both patients and families to know they have someone here at the hospital to help support them and answer any questions they may have.

“Answering questions at a time when it is hard to understand what is happening to them”

I work closely within a multidisciplinary team, which often includes district nurses and Macmillan nurses to provide ongoing symptom control at home.

I also signpost people to occupational therapy, physio and dietician support as well as to the Macmillan information centre in the QE for benefit advice and help with the application of Macmillan patient grants and Roy Castle grants.


“I feel very privileged to be able to help”


It is an exciting time in cancer care with lots of new developments in targeted therapies looking at the genetic make-up of cancer cells. There is however still a lot of work to be done.  New drugs are becoming available all time and there are a lot of clinical trials taking place.

Being a Macmillan lung cancer nurse can be very stressful and is definitely hard work. If I can make a difference to my patients and their families then it is worthwhile. I get to meet so many lovely people in my job that I feel very privileged to be able to help.

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.
Accept Cookies