The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Best treatment in the countryfor SCLC? Private or NHS?


my lifelong best friend has just discovered her dad has small cell lung cancer. It has spread to the bones. Her brother is very wealthy and they are trying to decide whether it would help her dad to go privately to either Christie's in Manchester/Liverpool or the Royal Marsden. The treatment he has received so far round here (stafford) has been very inconsistent and completely lacking in empathy. His tumour has grown very quickly and has spread quickly so time is of the essence yet the service round here is moving very slowly with alot of delays.

Any advice on what she should do? Private or stick with the NHS? Is he likely to get any significant benefits from further treatment.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

4 Replies


I'm so sorry to hear about your friends Dad.

I can understand your friends' frustration at the NHS, however the private sector doesn't necessarily provide all of the answers.

For example, private hospitals won't have Lung Cancer Specialist Nurses, who provide a crucial source of support and information. Make sure that your friends' Dad has been put in touch with a Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist. Also crucial to a patient is the MDT (or Multi disciplinary Team) which is made up of health professionals, e.g oncologists/surgeons/Chest Physicians/Specialist Nurses/radiologists who will discuss each patient, and what course of treatment is best for them.

If your friend needs any assistance in finding out who the LC Nurse specialist is, give me a call on 0333 323 7200 ext 205

Best Wishes,



Hi Beth - many thanks for this response. i will speak to her further and see what she says or whether he has one. Obviously I have grown up around the family as well so we are all pretty devastated. if I feel bad I can only imagine what she must be feeling.

Cancer is the pits.



I think you have answered your own question when you say time is of the essence yet progress is very slow. For a start get a second opinion privately and find out what treatment they recommend and how quickly the will move, just having that information will help to make a decision. The two hospitals you mention will both have MDT'S i am sure whether you go privately or NHS. You say the brother is wealthy, but beware the costs are very high. Does the father have private medical insurance? many of the policies now have full cancer care. Good luck


Hi, I am in Stafford also and have to say that I have had the best of care. The lung cancer nurses are wonderful. In answer to your question, a private hospital would not be the answer, they don't have the knowledge of a specialist unit and it will be the same doctors you see in the NHS, you just pay they instead. You can go to Christies or Royal Marsden for a second opinion, just ring the hospital and ask for the oncology secretary. Dr Mark Harrison is my friends brother and is an oncologist at Christies. There is a fantastic young oncologist in Wolverhampton called Dr. Simon Gummett, you could also ring his secretary at New Cross and ask for an appointment (he also has a private clinic) These people can design a treatment plan which you can then receive in your local hospital. SCLC is aggressive but does respond very well to chemotherapy. Bone met's can usually be treated with radiotherapy.

We have just started a LC support group in Stafford (next meeting 30th November at Post Grad medical centre) it's open to patients and carers, the lung cancer nurses are always there so you and your friends could pop along if you think it may help.

Hope that helps and wishing your friends dad all the very best

Lyn x


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