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What's it like being a nurse in the cancer field?

Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2016

Watch these short videos where Open University graduates Anne Hampton and Vikkie Allan tell us what their roles in medical oncology and endoscopy are like and how they help people with cancer.

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Anne Hampton

Anne is an Oncology Nurse at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Vikkie Allan

Vikkie is an Endoscopy Nurse Practitioner at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Glossary of terms related to cancer

Auxiliary nurse – a healthcare assistant who will help professional staff to look after patients in hospitals, nursing homes or in the community. They will carry out basic care tasks under the supervision of a qualified nurse or another qualified health worker.

Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment. It kills the cancer cells by damaging them so they can't reproduce and spread further. There are many ways in which chemotherapy can be given, including tablets or injections directly into a vein. It is known to cause side effects such as fatigue and hair loss.

Endoscopy - a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person's digestive tract. Using an endoscope, a long, thin flexible tube with a light and tiny video camera attached to it, health professionals can view pictures of your digestive tract on a TV monitor (this is what Vickie describes when she says she is an upper + lower GI nurse endoscopist).

Haematology - is the study of the morphology and physiology of blood (both the blood and the blood forming tissues). This branch of medicine concerns itself with the prevention of diseases related to the blood as well as diagnosis and treatment.

Health Care Support Worker (HCSW) – a healthcare assistant who works under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. The HCSW should have the awareness and ability to address the basic care needs of individual patients

Hospice – a type of care designed to give emotional, social and spiritual support to people with chronic or terminal illness. It focuses on comfort and the quality of life of the patient, rather than cure. It enables people to be free of as much pain as possible with some high levels of pain control.

Oncology - a branch of medicine that studies and deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer/tumours. A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist. An oncologist helps with a patient’s care from the cancer diagnosis stage and throughout the treatment of the disease.

Order your FREE booklet 'The Big C'

To find out more about Anne, Vikki and the other heroes that help those with cancer order your free booklet 'The Big C' from the Open University and explore our BBC co-production 'The Big C & Me'.

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