Anthony Cadogan is the Macmillan Advanced Pharmacist for oncology in Cwm Taf University Health Board, based in Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil.
His role is to provide safe and clinically appropriate chemotherapy to patients who visit the three chemotherapy units (Macmillan unit at Prince Charles Hospital and the haematology day units in both the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles Hospitals) in the health board, and is supported by a team who work in the Pharmacy department.
Anthony said: “I am part of the team of specialist staff who work to provide chemotherapy to a wide variety of patients.
“I work closely with specialist doctors, nurses and other staff to ensure that chemotherapy is prescribed, dispensed and given safely, and is tailored to the needs of each individual patient.
Chemotherapy is made in an extremely clean environment, much like an operating theatre, which uses isolator technology. Patients are more vulnerable to infection when they are receiving chemotherapy, and so it is essential to make sure it is not contaminated during the manufacturing process. Similarly, chemotherapy can be dangerous to the staff dealing with it day after day. The isolators help to protect patients and staff.
Anthony and the team also support patients with the right combination of oral medicines to minimise the side effects that they might experience as a result of their chemotherapy, for example, anti-sickness medication.
Some chemotherapy can even be provided in the form of tablets rather than by injection, but this is given just as much attention as it can have many of the same risks.
Dr Esther Youd, clinical director of pathology said: “Anthony is an extremely valuable part of the haematology team.
“With his expertise the service we provide for Cwm Taf patients has been transformed.
“The experience is safer, quicker and as pleasant as possible, all facilitated by Anthony’s skill and dedication.”
The health board now has a full outpatient haematology chemotherapy service on both the Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan hospital sites and as a result more patients are now treated locally rather than being referred to centres in Cardiff.
Anthony said: “The aim of the units is to provide chemotherapy closer to patients’ homes.”
Previously, our patients would have to drive past their local hospitals to go to Velindre or University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff to receive chemotherapy. For some patients this would mean travelling to Cardiff seven or eight times in the space of a fortnight, so being able to give them this treatment in their local area is a fantastic development for Cwm Taf which can help make the burden of cancer treatment more manageable for our patients.
As a result of the services that have been developed in Cwm Taf, over 50 patients now benefit from receiving their chemotherapy locally each week.
As well as being able to have their treatments closer to home, the service also means that patients and their families are able to see our brilliant haematologists and haematology specialist nurses more regularly, something we know helps patients to better deal with their cancer. It’s so important to see a familiar face!