Home Cancer Expert Q&A Hub Ask a Healthcare Professional

Ask an Oncology Specialist Nurse | Liz Bradley

LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

Get practical advice on treatment, side effects and living with cancer.

Post your questions now!


About Liz

Liz has been a registered nurse for 25 years, 20 of which have been spent working with cancer patients. She currently manages a chemotherapy unit in Essex and cannot imagine doing anything else apart from oncology nursing. Liz has also worked in a variety of oncology specialist nurse roles including breast and blood cancers and has a in-depth understanding of what patients embarking on or completing cancer treatments need most advice about or help with finding out information on. 

Liz is passionate about supporting patients with cancer and absolutely loves what she does. Coupled with this, Liz is also a cancer survivor herself having been diagnosed 18 years ago undergoing both chemo and radiotherapy so has been on the other side of the fence as well. 

Liz understands how lonely it can feel being diagnosed with cancer and that not all patients get their questions answered within a relatively short clinic slot. Liz would like to give back some of her knowledge and experience on this forum to support others particularly those starting cancer therapies such as chemo or radiotherapy.  

When not at work, Liz has two wonderful sons ages 8 and 12 who keep her very busy as well as a slightly scatty rescue dog called Nellie 😊 

Liz Bradley
Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
«1345

Comments

  • JaxyJaxy Posts: 5

    I’ve just watched a metastatic bc conference on you tube. Came from USA it comes to different cities every year. Do we have anything similar in uk please??

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi Jaxy

    I am guessing this is a subject close to home. I am not aware of any metastatic breast cancer conferences in the UK for patients right now but I will ask around for you.

    Are you on active treatment currently?

    Take care


    Liz

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi

    Thought I would post some up to date guidance for those worried about the news of Corona Virus. The message is still for patients with cancer to ideally avoid busy environments and to maintain good hand hygiene with soap and water.

    Hopefully this frequently asked questions link may be useful at this time.

    Take care out there

    Liz 💕

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 98 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor
    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Cancer Counsellor  | Reg. MBACP (Accred)

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,196 mod

    @LizzyB73

    Hi Lizzy, and welcome to our lovely group.

    Many thanks for your guidance on Coronavirus. It is very welcome and helpful.

    Rob x

  • MAHJMAHJ Posts: 1

    Hi.

    Diagnosed with invasive lobular bc 2017. Lumpectomy, mastectomy & axillary lymph nods removed, followed by chemo and then radiotherapy. On anastrozole for 10 years and zometa every 6 months for 3 years ( 2 more infusions left to do).

    Had delayed diep reconstruction in October 2019. Abdomen healed up now but I have an area under the flap that's proving to be stubborn and not healing. Also have a cavity inside the flap, approx 4cm x 1.5cm.

    Question is, am I classed as having 'underlying conditions' as per cruising advice from the government? Surgeon did say back in January that I'm ok to fly but the hole was healing/closing then. It began to open up again January and was the largest in the middle of February.

    Does having no lymph nodes (left breast) put me at risk?


    Govt advice just says cancer patients but I'm not technically a cancer patient now...


    Thanks for any clarity you can provide.


    Michelle x

  • PatspPatsp Posts: 3

    Hi Liz,I had radiotherapy and chemotherapy prior to rectal cancer operation in July 19 ,I had more chemo after the operation, oncologist said this was a mopping up situation as the operation went very well,I finished this in December 19,just wondering should I be very wary of my immune system at this time of covid 19,am I at high risk,

    Thank you,Pat Speight

  • GeniejeanpcqueenGeniejeanpcqueen Posts: 2

    I have oesophagal cancer. Had stent inserted which migrated to stomach new one inserted but old one still in stomach will it cause a problem?

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi @MAHJ

    Thanks for getting in touch. As you say, you had cancer treatment back in 2017. so it is unlikely you are immune compromised to the point of being more susceptible to coronavirus.

    However, having the open wound and with a lack of lymph nodes, potentially causing a delay in healing I would err on the side of caution at this time with regards to travel.

    Home sweet home for a while 😊😊

    Best wishes


    Liz

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi @Patsp

    Thanks for getting in touch. The answer is, that even up to about 3 months post chemotherapy, you will still have a weakened immune system so I would suggest that you do need to be slightly more cautious at this time of Coronavirus.

    The general message is to avoid crowded places and prolonged close contact with others to reduce the risk.

    Stay safe and wishing you well in your recovery

    best wishes

    Liz 😊

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • PatspPatsp Posts: 3

    Thanks very much Liz,I appreciate you getting back to me

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi @Geniejeanpcqueen

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    I am sorry to hear that you had to have a second stent inserted however, I am unable to answer this specific question and would advise that you make contact with your medical team about this.

    I do wish you all the best.

    Best wishes


    Liz 😊

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • Frankie1Frankie1 Posts: 9

    Could I ask your advice. I have been taking 1,000 mg Vitamin C daily to protect against colds but since starting Immunotherapy and Chemotherapy am wondering how this will affect my immune system. Someone mentioned on a Non-Hodgkinsons Lymphoma group that this might be damaging to the low immune system. I am on three weekly treatment for 8 cycles and take anti-sickness and steroids for 3/4 days after each treatment. I would be very grateful for your comments Liz. Thank you. Frances (Frankie 1)

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi @Frankie1

    The evidence around use of vitamin C tablets focuses on not so much protecting the immune system from getting a cold but can possibly be effective in helping you to fight it off more quickly. ( by possibly a day max)

    It will not make any difference to the chances of getting Coronavirus though.

    Like any over the counter medicine it is always best to check with your medical team that they are happy for you to take supplements while you are on treatment but in my experience most clinicians are happy for patients to take vitamin boosts as long as In dosages that are recommended.

    I wish you well with your treatment

    Take care

    LIz 💕

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • Frankie1Frankie1 Posts: 9

    Thank you so much Liz xx

  • Cmflyersx2cCmflyersx2c Posts: 6

    Hello Liz.

    During my much research of breast cancer and what’s it’s all about, I found this site and decided to join in.

    I have some questions and concerns that maybe can be clarified.

    Three weeks ago my wife was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer tumor.

    Testing was immediate and we have already finished one session of Chemo with the second coming up on Monday next week. We are to do 8 sessions.

    My wife’s oncologist tells us that type of cancer is very receptive to Chemo and says we should see a reduction in size even after the first session, but also tells us there is only a 40% success rate of the tumor being gone after the eight season.

    That sounds contradicting to me.

    What can you tell me about this type of cancer tumor and the treatments for it. Also is it realistic to be able to see a reduction of size that fast.


    Thank you kindly in advance

    Matt

  • DebFDebF Posts: 1

    Hi

    Thank you for helping us all. Sometimes I am so positive and other days are really hard. I have breast cancer and have had operation but the cancer is still in my lymph nodes behind my chest wall. I am just worried that it is all going to get worst from this point not better. I am on hormone and a chemo drug for as long as it works.

    Any advice?

    Debbie

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi @Cmflyersx2c Matt

    Thank you for getting in touch and I can completely understand your need for answers.

    I am not in a position to be able to answer all off your questions but it is true that chemo can get to work very fast on tumours and there would start to be a reduction in size after one cycle.

    The thinking in breast cancer treatment is to start with the chemo first to shrink the size and then once it’s done it’s job, the surgeons can work their magic and then excise it afterwards.

    I do wish you and your wife well, in what is a very difficult time for you both.


    Best wishes


    Liz 🌻

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    Hi @DebF Debbie

    Thank you for getting in touch. I totally get the swing of emotions that you must be feeling. One minute all feels fine and then the next a wave of uncertainty takes over.

    Can I suggest you touch base with Karin, @KarinSieger , our communities well being advisor. She may well be able to support with some of the feelings that you have

    it would be difficult for me to offer specific advice regarding your treatment but I would advise that if you have concerns you speak to your clinical nurse specialist at the hospital you are being treated at.

    I wish you well

    Liz 💕

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 98 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

    @DebF @LizzyB73

    Hi Debbie,

    I saw your message last night. Thanks Lizzy for formally introducing me into this conversation.

    Debbie I am happy to respond and will do so hopefully later today.

    Best wishes.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Cancer Counsellor  | Reg. MBACP (Accred)

  • peter63peter63 Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    Hi,

    My name is Peter Allen, I have Stage Four prostate cancer with secondary spread.

    Feeling confused about Covid 19, I enjoy going to the gym and swimming on a regular basis (3 times a week). Read some information the other day which said this poses a risk to someone in my position, then I read something else which said to carry on as normal.

    I currently take Abiraterone, regular Lupron injection and Prednisone, I am also medication controlled Type 2 diabetic.

    Any advice would be appreciated,

    Regards and best wishes Peter

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 98 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

    @DebF

    Hi Debbie,

    Following my brief email of this morning, here is a longer reply.

    Sadly with cancer come mood swings, ups and downs and worries. Especially if, like in your case, the cancer remains present.

    After my first breast cancer treatment ended I experienced a lot of anxiety about whether it would come back. I had to learn to accept this fear as normal, but also had to find ways of managing it, so it would not rule my life. With time I got used to it, the peaks and troughs.

    Since my local recurrence I now live with the cancer and it is managed in a umber of ways. The anxiety I am feeling now is similar yet different, because I know the cancer is in my body.

    Oddly enough, though, I find that managing my fear gives me a sense of control back, which the cancer diagnosis initially weakened considerably.

    Accepting the fear does not mean I am putting up with it and accepting my lot and wait until I die of cancer. That would be fatalistic and not even justified.

    Because we don't know whether we will die of cancer. We don't know whether it will spread or what it will do.

    What we do know is that we can do things to look after ourselves as best as we can. That in itself can keep us very busy and keep us physically and emotionally well - more than dwelling on the dark possibilities would ever do.

    And there are moments when that all may be too hard, and the fear cannot be shifted. Personally I allow those moments too and tell myself, today the fear is really hard to shift. Instead of fighting it and myself, that usually helps and in time the fear gets less.

    I am sharing my personal experience in the hope it will help you accept how you feel. While not pleasant, we must not give it too much weight in our life. If I did that, I would have no energy or inclination to do all the other things I am doing. But it is a very personal process and can take some time to develop.

    With best wishes for you.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Cancer Counsellor  | Reg. MBACP (Accred)

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    @peter63

    Hi Peter


    Thanks for the email. As you can imagine the advice on Covid 19 is quite changeable.

    You are not on drugs that would affect your immunity persay so would not mean you were at more risk of catching the virus.

    If you had said you were also asthmatic or had other breathing issues then I my advice may be slightly different.

    The government and public health England has not placed any restrictions on gyms or swimming pools to close and I suspect that most people with any hint of a cough or temperature will now be sensible and be self isolating as per government guidelines.

    In summary I would suggest that with today’s knowledge we have, keeping to your normal routine as you described would not pose any more risk for you. Infact, there is evidence to support that remaining active and keeping to an exercise regime is highly beneficial for cancer patients.


    I wish you well


    Best wishes


    Liz 🌻

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • peter63peter63 Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the very prompt response and excellent clear advice.

    I will admit to it being a worrying time at present. Once again thank you, Regards Peter xxx

  • Cmflyersx2cCmflyersx2c Posts: 6

    Hello Liz.

    Thank you for the quick response.

    We basically are aware of all that already.

    Most of our concern right now lies on the contradicting info the Oncologist is giving us.

    He says this type of cancer is very responsive to the type of chemo we are getting.

    Sounds good eh. Not!!!

    When I question him about success rates, meaning will the tumor be gone at the end of the chemo sessions. He says only 40%. I was expecting something like 60% or better. So this bothers us.

    My wife’s tumor is 6cm long. Don’t know the width, but we estimate 2 or 3cm plus it has invaded one limp th node.

    So I’m guessing at the end of the 8th session, we will only be half the size if we are lucky. This begs the question is the chemo even worth all the hardship on many levels we will have to go through.

    Maybe we should just go straight to surgery followed by Radiation.

    Any thoughts?

    Matt

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    @Cmflyersx2c

    Hi Matt

    Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment so will be essential in mopping up any possible spread through the lymph system as well as shrinking the existing tumour.

    Surgery and radiation will deal with the local disease once the chemotherapy has done its job.

    I can understand that this is really hard to get to grips with and I know that you need answers but rest assured the chemotherapy has been prescribed to get control of the cancer spreading further. The chemotherapy is totally worth getting through.

    Best wishes

    Liz

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • Jean4Jean4 Posts: 1

    Hi , I have had chem & radiotherapy in 2018 & 19. I’m concerned that my immune system maybe affected & should I be more careful with the corona virus circulating?

  • LizzyB73LizzyB73 Posts: 112 Oncology Specialist Nurse

    @Jean4

    Hi Jean.

    Thank you for getting in touch. As long as you have not had any treatment within the last 3 months , your immunity should have returned to normal by now.

    I attach the upto date guidance as of today.

    Best wishes and stay well


    Liz 💕

    Liz Bradley
    Oncology Specialist Nurse | Oncology Service Manager @ Springfield Hospital
  • SmcaSmca Posts: 1

    Good morning Liz

    i am concerned about zoledronic acid treatment and whether it beneficial to me as i was premenopausal before I started chemo in April 2018(8 sessions) followed by lumpectomy(November 2018) and radiation therapy(January 2019)treatment for Her2 stage 2 breast cancer. With complete therapeutic outcome. The chemo worked very well to get rid of both tumors but I had a toxic reaction to radiotherapy which still gives me some concern

    i was offered the option to have zoledronic acid in November 2019 . After dental assessments I have two have 3 teeth extracted which is quite distressing. I am going ahead with dental treatment this week but concerned that in this context of Coronavirus I am putting myself at risk. And not sure according to research that it is beneficial to me although now menopausal (I am 56 years old and menopause was triggered by chemo.

    thank you for your advice

  • Blanka_CBlanka_C Posts: 365 Community Admin

    Hi @purple2020, I hope you don't mind me tagging you in this discussion, I've seen you've asked about staying safe. Liz, our lovely Oncology Nurse might be able to advise you further. You can just simply copy-paste your question here and she'll get back to you as soon as possible. ❤️

Sign In or Register to comment.