Cancer patients are being given a new consent form to better explain the drugs they will be given before starting treatment.
Patients with breast cancer, and head and neck cancer patients, will be the first to use the new forms.
The National Chemotherapy Board (NCB) now recommends that consent forms in the UK should be made specific to each type of cancer.
And the new forms, which were developed by Cancer Research UK and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, have now been endorsed by the Board.
There will be over 250 forms in total, published in groups by tumour site throughout 2016. And they will all be available on the Cancer Research UK website for medical teams to download and use.
Chemotherapy is classified as systemic anti-cancer treatment (SACT). And the NCB has also published guidance on the best use of treatments which, along with the new forms, will help clinicians make sure patients receiving SACT are fully informed before agreeing to start treatment.
Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s vital that patients have the best possible information when deciding about their cancer treatment.
“These forms will help with this, and make sure that patients having chemotherapy and other drug treatments for cancer benefit from all the knowledge available to us.”
The guidance and new forms address recommendations in the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group (NCAG) report.
And while the report is England-specific, the NCB says the recommendations are relevant to all chemotherapy services in the UK.
Dr Janine Mansi, member of the NCB and Consultant Medical Oncologist at Guy’s and St. Thomas’, said: “Use of these forms by all chemotherapy providers will enable high quality standardised information from clinician to patient, and no omissions of information in relation to SACT treatment and consent.
“The forms are also a useful tool for teaching and training. The considerable benefits for patients and clinicians have already been witnessed at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and within the South East London region.”