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Oncology | Lakes | Te Whatu Ora

Public Service, Oncology, Haematology

Description

Formerly Lakes DHB Oncology

Lakes DHB provides oncology services locally as well as from an outreach clinic of Waikato DHB.

Patients are seen both by the local Medical Oncology team as well as visiting Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists and Haematologists.

Beginning 8th June 2020, Lakes DHB has employed a second medical oncologist, Alistair Wickham.

The Rotorua Medical Oncology team run three clinics per week - Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

The Haematology team visits four times a month and the Radiation Oncologist visits Lakes DHB from Waikato DHB once a month.

Oncology services are supported by Cancer Care Co-ordinators, Cancer Psychologists, Palliative Care, Dietitians, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists, as well as other community organisations such as Cancer Society, Hospice and Aroha Mai.

Chemotherapy Unit

The Rotorua Chemotherapy Unit is a 9 chair, 3 bed unit. This is where staff administer a variety of infusions specific to the patient’s conditions e.g. chemotherapy, immunotherapy, blood transfusions and bisphosphonate infusions. 

The service is available Monday to Friday 8am - 4.30pm at Rotorua Hospital.

The Chemotherapy Unit provides services at Taupō Hospital once a week, with limited time and space. Not every Taupō patient can be treated in Taupō.

Rotorua Chemotherapy Unit  
Phone:  (07) 349 7989 
Fax:  (07) 349 7865

Where to find us: see the Rotorua Hospital and Taupō Hospital maps. 

What is Oncology?
Oncology is the area of medicine involving cancer. An oncologist is a doctor specialising in the treatment of cancer with targeting agents such as immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation. A haematologist specialises in tumours of blood such as leukaemia and lymphoma. Oncologists collaborate closely with surgeons and general physicians to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 

Consultants

Note: Please note below that some people are not available at all locations.

Referral Expectations

Usually referral to the Oncology service is by letter from another doctor, such as a GP, physician or surgeon. One of our consultants will read through the letter and ask our clerical staff to book an appointment, taking account of the urgency of the condition.

When you come, you will be seen by an oncologist or a haematologist who will ask questions about your illness, examine you, and discuss the management of your condition. We encourage you to bring a family member or other support person to sit in on the visit.

You may be referred to the Chemotherapy Unit for further treatment.

Lakes DHB Cancer Care Coordinators are available to support patients and their family through their cancer journey. You may be referred to the Cancer Care Coordination team by the Oncology team, your GP or you can contact them directly. Find out more here.

Ask your consultant if you would like to learn more about involvement in clinical trials.

Charges

New Zealand citizens or those who have obtained permanent residence are entitled to publicly funded health care.

Non-residents may be required to pay for their health care.

Click here to read more about eligibility for funded care at Lakes DHB.

Procedures/Treatments/Services

Cancer Care Coordination

What We Do We navigate patients through health and social services for co-ordinated care We work with family/whanau to make sure there is good understanding of the cancer journey We provide information regarding the options and management of the illness This involves explaining the Pathway, disease process, treatment, medication and ongoing care We refer the patient to other services, as needed We provide support at appointments We provide ongoing support through regular visits and phone calls Contact Phone: (07) 343 7729 Fax: (07) 343 7708 Office: Nurse Specialists' Rooms, Ground Floor, Bridgeman South Rotorua Hospital The Cancer Support Nurses accept referrals from: Patients Families Friends of patients Family doctor Hospital services District Nursing Service Cancer Society Taupō /Rotorua Hospital Waikato Hospital - Oncologists /Hospital services Cancer Care Coordination Brochure (PDF, 1 MB)

What We Do

  • We navigate patients through health and social services for co-ordinated care
  • We work with family/whanau to make sure there is good  understanding of the cancer journey
  • We provide information regarding the options and management of the illness
  • This involves explaining the Pathway, disease process, treatment, medication and ongoing care
  • We refer the patient to other services, as needed
  • We provide support at appointments
  • We provide ongoing support through regular visits and phone calls 

 

Contact  
Phone:  (07) 343 7729 
Fax: (07) 343 7708 
Office:

Nurse Specialists' Rooms,

Ground Floor, Bridgeman South

Rotorua Hospital


The Cancer Support Nurses accept referrals from:

  • Patients
  • Families
  • Friends of patients
  • Family doctor
  • Hospital services
  • District Nursing Service
  • Cancer Society
  • Taupō /Rotorua Hospital
  • Waikato Hospital - Oncologists /Hospital services
Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to kill or reduce the spread of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is given as cycles and may be given once a day, once a week or even once a month. This depends on the type of cancer and the best regimen (course) as determined by research. Chemotherapy, unlike radiation (which treats only the part of the body exposed to the radiation), treats the entire body. As a result, any cells that may have escaped from where the cancer originated are treated. A doctor who prescribes chemotherapy is known as a medical oncologist. Depending on what type of cancer you have and whether it has spread, your doctor may use chemotherapy to: Eliminate all cancer cells in your body, even when cancer is widespread Prolong your life by controlling cancer growth and spread or Relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. Most chemotherapy drugs are given in one of the following ways: You might take a tablet or medicine orally (swallow) It may be given intravenously as an injection over a short period of time or as an infusion over a longer period of time. For these treatments you come into the Department usually for part of the day. What are the side effects of chemotherapy? Some people have no side effects at all from chemotherapy. Sometimes, however, chemotherapy will make you feel sick. As each type of chemotherapy has different side effects they will be discussed with you prior to starting any treatment so you know what to expect. Chemotherapy targets cells that are quickly dividing, whether it's a cancer cell or not. Therefore, some non-cancer cells that divide quickly are also damaged. The following is a list of some normal cells that divide quickly in the body and may be susceptible to the effects of chemotherapy: Cells in your hair (can cause hair loss) Cells of the skin and mouth (can cause sores in your mouth and dry skin) Cells in your stomach and intestines (can cause you to feel sick, vomit or have diarrhoea) Cells in your bone marrow. This is where your red and white blood cells are made. White blood cells fight infections, so temporarily you are very prone to these and they can become serious. Loss of red blood cells can make you anaemic and tired. There are many medicines you can take to reduce or lessen these unwanted effects of chemotherapy. In some cases, chemotherapy may be the only treatment you need. More often, it's used in conjunction with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, to improve results. For example, you may receive: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The goal of neoadjuvant therapy is to reduce the size of a tumour with chemotherapy before surgery or radiation therapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy. Given after surgery or radiation, the goal of adjuvant chemotherapy is to eliminate any cancer cells that might linger in your body following earlier treatments.

Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to kill or reduce the spread of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is given as cycles and may be given once a day, once a week or even once a month. This depends on the type of cancer and the best regimen (course) as determined by research. Chemotherapy, unlike radiation (which treats only the part of the body exposed to the radiation), treats the entire body. As a result, any cells that may have escaped from where the cancer originated are treated.

A doctor who prescribes chemotherapy is known as a medical oncologist.

Depending on what type of cancer you have and whether it has spread, your doctor may use chemotherapy to:

  • Eliminate all cancer cells in your body, even when cancer is widespread
  • Prolong your life by controlling cancer growth and spread or
  • Relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Most chemotherapy drugs are given in one of the following ways:

  • You might take a tablet or medicine orally (swallow)
  • It may be given intravenously as an injection over a short period of time or as an infusion over a longer period of time. For these treatments you come into the Department usually for part of the day.

What are the side effects of chemotherapy?

Some people have no side effects at all from chemotherapy. Sometimes, however, chemotherapy will make you feel sick. As each type of chemotherapy has different side effects they will be discussed with you prior to starting any treatment so you know what to expect. Chemotherapy targets cells that are quickly dividing, whether it's a cancer cell or not. Therefore, some non-cancer cells that divide quickly are also damaged. The following is a list of some normal cells that divide quickly in the body and may be susceptible to the effects of chemotherapy:

  • Cells in your hair (can cause hair loss)
  • Cells of the skin and mouth (can cause sores in your mouth and dry skin)
  • Cells in your stomach and intestines (can cause you to feel sick, vomit or have diarrhoea)
  • Cells in your bone marrow. This is where your red and white blood cells are made. White blood cells fight infections, so temporarily you are very prone to these and they can become serious. Loss of red blood cells can make you anaemic and tired.

There are many medicines you can take to reduce or lessen these unwanted effects of chemotherapy.

In some cases, chemotherapy may be the only treatment you need. More often, it's used in conjunction with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, to improve results. For example, you may receive:

  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The goal of neoadjuvant therapy is to reduce the size of a tumour with chemotherapy before surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Adjuvant chemotherapy. Given after surgery or radiation, the goal of adjuvant chemotherapy is to eliminate any cancer cells that might linger in your body following earlier treatments.
Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment which assists the body's immune system to fight cancer. Types of immunotherapy Checkpoint inhibitors - Proteins called "checkpoints", on the surface of T-cells can stop the immune system from attacking cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs designed to block these proteins to enable the T-cells to recognise and destroy cancer cells. These types of drugs are currently the most widely used form of immunotherapy. Some are subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Immune stimulants - Some immunotherapy treatments aim to stimulate the immune system so it reactivates and attacks cancer cells. How often and how long you receive immunotherapy may depend on: the type of immunotherapy the type of cancer how advanced the cancer is how you respond to treatment the side effects you may experience. Checkpoint inhibitors are usually given with an injection into a vein (intraveneously). When immunotherapy is used to treat some melanoma cases, a cream called imiquimond may be applied directly to the affected area. Sometimes more than one type of immunotherapy drug is prescribed. Immunotherapy drugs appear to keep working for varying periods of time and in some cases can keep working long after other treatments are no longer used. What are the side effects of immunotherapy? Side effects from immunotherapy can vary depending on the type of treatment you receive and how your body responds. The side effects of checkpoint immunotherapy are different from those of other cancer treatments. Common side effects include: fatigue skin rash diarrhoea abdominal pain dry eyes joint pain.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment which assists the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Types of immunotherapy

  • Checkpoint inhibitors - Proteins called "checkpoints", on the surface of T-cells can stop the immune system from attacking cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs designed to block these proteins to enable the T-cells to recognise and destroy cancer cells. These types of drugs are currently the most widely used form of immunotherapy. Some are subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Immune stimulants - Some immunotherapy treatments aim to stimulate the immune system so it reactivates and attacks cancer cells.

How often and how long you receive immunotherapy may depend on:

  • the type of immunotherapy
  • the type of cancer
  • how advanced the cancer is
  • how you respond to treatment
  • the side effects you may experience.

Checkpoint inhibitors are usually given with an injection into a vein (intraveneously).

When immunotherapy is used to treat some melanoma cases, a cream called imiquimond may be applied directly to the affected area.

Sometimes more than one type of immunotherapy drug is prescribed. Immunotherapy drugs appear to keep working for varying periods of time and in some cases can keep working long after other treatments are no longer used.

What are the side effects of immunotherapy?

Side effects from immunotherapy can vary depending on the type of treatment you receive and how your body responds. The side effects of checkpoint immunotherapy are different from those of other cancer treatments.

Common side effects include:

  • fatigue
  • skin rash
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • dry eyes
  • joint pain.
Alternative Treatments

It is very common for people with cancer to want to try other non-medical treatments such as diet or alternative/complementary medicines offered by other practitioners. It is helpful for your oncology team to know what other therapies you might be taking as sometimes there can be interactions with their treatment.

It is very common for people with cancer to want to try other non-medical treatments such as diet or alternative/complementary medicines offered by other practitioners.  It is helpful for your oncology team to know what other therapies you might be taking as sometimes there can be interactions with their treatment.
Medical Oncology Clinical Trials - Breast: PantoCIN

Breast: PantoCIN Pantoprazole Prophylaxis Against Delayed Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV) for Patients Receiving Breast Cancer Chemotherapy This study is currently recruiting participants. Primary Objective: This phase II, randomised double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study explores whether a commonly used medication called Pantoprazole can help prevent delayed nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy for early breast cancer. Delayed nausea, and occasionally vomiting, can occur after breast cancer chemotherapy, affecting quality of life. A potential cause of these delayed side effects is that the chemotherapy may cause stomach irritation. Pantoprazole is commonly used to treat stomach irritation by reducing stomach acid, which may in turn improve nausea and/or vomiting. Principal Investigator: Prashanth Hari Dass Research Coordinators: Karen and Paula Trial Website: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03948477

Breast: PantoCIN

Pantoprazole Prophylaxis Against Delayed Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV) for Patients Receiving Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Primary Objective: This phase II, randomised double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study explores whether a commonly used medication called Pantoprazole can help prevent delayed nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy for early breast cancer. Delayed nausea, and occasionally vomiting, can occur after breast cancer chemotherapy, affecting quality of life. A potential cause of these delayed side effects is that the chemotherapy may cause stomach irritation. Pantoprazole is commonly used to treat stomach irritation by reducing stomach acid, which may in turn improve nausea and/or vomiting.

Principal Investigator: Prashanth Hari Dass

Research Coordinators: Karen and Paula

Trial Website: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03948477

 

Medical Oncology Clinical Trials - SKIN: Squamous Skin Cancer REGN2810

SKIN: Squamous Skin Cancer REGN2810 A Phase 2 Study of REGN2810, a Fully Human Monoclonal Antibody to Programmed Death-1 (PD-1), in Participants with Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Primary objective is to provide additional efficacy and safety data for cemiplimab monotherapy in patients with advanced CSCC (metastatic [nodal or distant] or locally advanced) treated with cemiplimab. Principle Investigator: Prashanth Hari Dass. This study is not yet open. Feel free to speak to the medical oncologist or oncology research nurse if you would like to receive more information.

SKIN: Squamous Skin Cancer REGN2810

A Phase 2 Study of REGN2810, a Fully Human Monoclonal Antibody to Programmed Death-1 (PD-1), in Participants with Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Primary objective is to provide additional efficacy and safety data for cemiplimab monotherapy in patients with advanced CSCC (metastatic [nodal or distant] or locally advanced) treated with cemiplimab.

Principle Investigator: Prashanth Hari Dass.

This study is not yet open. Feel free to speak to the medical oncologist or oncology research nurse if you would like to receive more information.

Other facilities & options for patients

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ - Scalp Cooling Equipment The scalp cooling equipment is available for patients receiving chemotherapy to help reduce the degree of hair loss associated with chemotherapy. Collection of Outcome Primary Outcome: Measure of Effectiveness 1 month Post Treatment Using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v 4.03 where Grade 1 Alopecia will be defined as success to treatment Secondary Outcome: Tolerability: Defined as ability to complete all planned chemotherapy cycles using Paxman Scalp Cooling Adverse Event Data Adverse event data will be collected in particular the rates and severity of headache, dizziness, pruritis, scalp skin reaction. Potential events leading to fault in the device for e.g. scalp machine malfunction will also be recorded. For more information please contact your oncologist or speak to your oncology nurse.

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ - Scalp Cooling Equipment

The scalp cooling equipment is available for patients receiving chemotherapy to help reduce the degree of hair loss associated with chemotherapy.

Collection of Outcome

Primary Outcome:

Measure of Effectiveness 1 month Post Treatment

Using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v 4.03 where Grade 1 Alopecia will be defined as success to treatment

 

Secondary Outcome:

Tolerability: Defined as ability to complete all planned chemotherapy cycles using Paxman Scalp Cooling

Adverse Event Data

Adverse event data will be collected in particular the rates and severity of headache, dizziness, pruritis, scalp skin reaction. Potential events leading to fault in the device for e.g. scalp machine malfunction will also be recorded.

For more information please contact your oncologist or speak to your oncology nurse.

Pharmacy

Click here to find your nearest community pharmacy.

Other

Click on the location links for more information on your trip to Rotorua Hospital or Taupō Hospital, including:

 

Useful Resources

Contact Details

This page was last updated at 12:03PM on August 25, 2020. This information is reviewed and edited by Oncology | Lakes | Te Whatu Ora.