Haematology and oncology

18 October 2012

Laura Braid is one of our Specialist Nurse Advisors who has specialised in Haematology and oncology since 2004. With 12 years of experience as a registered nurse, she has helped cancer patients through a variety of scenarios including diagnosis, chemotherapy, side effects, and stem cell transplants – meaning she could expertly answer your questions on cancers of the blood.

Here’s what she had to say:

Fionad asked:What are the most common diagnosis and least common in your department?

Laura Braid:Hi Fionad - I’m assuming that question was for me? - It is difficult to say what is the most and least diagnosed.

Laura Braid:We deal with a variety of conditions from Myeloma to Leukaemia to lymphoma

Nicky asked:Hi Laura, what would a typical day involve for you?

Laura Braid:Hi Nicky My role at AXA as a specialist nurse involves speaking to members offering support and advice on a range of topics from what to expect during chemotherapy to the potential side effects they may experience. It differs very much from being a nurse on a Haematology unit. There I would be administrating chemotherapy, nursing patients who have had severe side effects to that chemotherapy, to conditioning patients who are to undergo a stem cell transplant.

Michelle Dean asked:I have more of a statement than a question however I had never heard of Haematology it’s certainly not like one of the common forms of cancer that I hear our agents talk to customers about,

Laura Braid asked:Hi Michelle Dean - Haematology is the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases. Haematology includes the study of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention of blood diseases that affect the production of blood and its components, such as blood cells, haemoglobin, blood proteins, and the mechanism of coagulation. The laboratory work that goes into the study of blood is frequently performed by a medical technologist. Haematologists also conduct studies in oncology—the medical treatment of cancer.

Michelle you have more than likely come across disorders such as Leukaemia and myeloma these are haematological cancers - cancers of the blood.

Michelle Dean:Yes I’ve certainly heard of these disorders,

Nicky asked:Thanks Laura, how do members get referred to you?

Laura Braid:Every AXA member has access to the dedicated nurses and they would be able to speak to us regarding clinical matters

486068 asked:Hi Laura, how many members’ do you think you tend to speak to on average each month?

Laura Braid asked:Hi 486068 - it is difficult to gauge we take on average 20 - 30 calls every day

Wendy asked:Hi Laura -Do you work in the NHS too or just for AXA?

Laura Braid:Hi Wendy - I work for AXA just now as a specialist nurse - I don’t have an active role within the NHS at the moment

Wendy asked:Thanks Laura. Do your patients just receive treatment privately or would they be able to go to specialist NHS cancer hospitals like the Royal Marsden if needed

Laura Braid:Hi Wendy - Our patients have access to a wide variety of hospitals - We cover treatment at hospitals within AXA directory of hospitals. However we can look at covering treatment at other hospitals if there is a clinical need

Wendy asked:Thank-you. I ask because I know my mum received great treatment on the NHS for her breast cancer but I guess it's nice to have options

Harby59 asked:Hi can you tell what you know about the drug Sunitinib

Laura Braid:Hi Harby - Sunitinib is a type of drug called a multikinase inhibitor. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells. It also works by slowing the growth of new blood vessels within the tumour.

Harby59 asked:Do you know if you have any patients on it and how long has the longest been treated for? I was on Gleevec for 8 years and its stopped working! I've been on Sutent since May!

Laura Braid:Harby59 - can I ask what you are being treated for?

Harby59:Gists in neck, liver, and lower spine!

You probably know my surgeon David Lloyd LRI

Laura Braid:Unfortunately Harby59 - each person is different cancer affects everybody differently and what may work for one person may not necessarily work for another. There are many cases documented in the media where people have had a good response to Sutent

Harby59:That's good news thanks! As my oncologist said my MRI and CT scans 6 weeks ago were showing improvement

Hannah asked:Hi Laura as part of your role do you spend any time in a hospital environment?

Laura Braid:Hi Hannah - I don’t work within the hospital environment now - I have worked within NHS hospitals for 12 years previous.

Hannah:Wow must be nice to be able to provide a different support service now

Laura Braid:Yes it is Hannah. My experiences I have gained while working within the NHS have been invaluable. My current role is more of a supportive role my experiences I have gained help me to best support and give advice to our members.

AXA PPP healthcare:Laura -  would you like to tell us a little more about your work, how does an average day look for you?

Laura Braid:Every day is different and is dependent on the phone calls we receive. We can be asked about a range of subjects from how to cope with diagnosis to what to expect from a biopsy. Our role is very much a supportive one - we are guided by our members - whatever they feel they need to ask we will try our best to answer. If we don’t know the answer we will try our best to point the member in the correct direction.

AXA PPP healthcare:Will you be watching Stand Up to Cancer this evening? Also were you featured on the TV ads

Laura Braid:Yes I’ll be watching this evening, The TV ads feature my colleagues - I was involved in the picture campaign but not the TV ads. The new ads are great and we have had lots of great feedback about them.