Royal United Hospitals launch new service to tackle age inequality in ovarian cancer outcomes

The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston (UHBW) NHS Foundation Trust have launched a new pilot service with a focus to help tackle age inequality in ovarian cancer outcomes.  

The Holistic Integrated Care in Ovarian Cancer (HICO) service, supported by the Ovarian Cancer Action charity, will provide support for patients aged 55 years and above.

Within the Royal United Hospitals statement, the trust cites NHS research into ovarian concern outcomes in older people as a motive for the pilot, which showed that older patients are “more likely to have pre-existing medical problems” and “receive less intensive treatment than younger patients”.

Jonathan Frost, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, RUH, commented on the new service: “Sometimes older patients are not deemed fit enough for more intensive cancer treatments. Our HICO service looks at the patient’s health as a whole.  

“So, rather than just focussing on the cancer diagnosis, we support many aspects of their physical and mental health and the management of any other medical conditions they may have. This means people are better able to manage treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgery, better able to recover more quickly after treatment too. 

“The service brings together physiotherapy, dietetic, occupational therapy, geriatric and psychological expertise to optimise the patient’s overall health so they are well enough for treatment. This also reduces their likelihood of developing complications from treatment and helps them to recover more quickly.” 

Claire Newton, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, UHBW, added: “I am really privileged to be part of the team improving outcomes for women with ovarian cancer. We have already learnt so much and the new service has helped us to work together more effectively. This pilot is an opportunity for the RUH and UHBW to make a huge difference to the lives of older women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in our local area.”