New Clinical Nurse Specialist appointed to support asbestos-related cancer patients in Wales

Sam Williams joins national charity, Mesothelioma UK and will be based at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Sam Williams has been appointed as a Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) to provide specialist care and support for mesothelioma (asbestos-related cancer) patients in the areas of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen and South Powys.

Mesothelioma is a cancer related to exposure to asbestos and predominantly affects the lining of the lungs, with approximately 100 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year in Wales.

Sarah Morgan, Mesothelioma UK Senior CNS and Project Lead for Wales based in West Wales, has been the sole mesothelioma CNS in Wales since 2017. Mesothelioma UK’s Project Cymru was launched in October 2020 based on the urgent need to enhance services, with Wales facing unique challenges in the management of this rare cancer, given its status as a devolved nation with healthcare operating in a predominantly rural setting.

The objective of Project Cymru is to create a ‘hub-and-spoke’ network to enhance mesothelioma services across Wales, to ensure that all patients receive the standards of care outlined by the British Thoracic Society: access to a specialist mesothelioma CNS; discussion by a specialist mesothelioma MDT; access to the best treatment, care and clinical trials available.

There is a strong need for more mesothelioma CNSs in Wales. Sam’s appointment as the second CNS for Wales, based at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (UHB), is a hugely positive step forward. Aneurin Bevan UHB local lung MDT handles the largest local caseload of mesothelioma in Wales. In this Mesothelioma UK adopted post, Sam will support patients, carers and professionals in the management of mesothelioma across Aneurin Bevan UHB, as well as working with Project Lead, Sarah Morgan, to raise the profile of mesothelioma more broadly and advocate for the difficulties faced by patients trying to access care and treatment in Wales.

Commenting on her new role, Sam said: “Mesothelioma UK is an amazing charity that I know gives so much to patients and their loved ones. I am proud to join such an organisation. I work in one of the largest MDTs in Wales with a higher number of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. Having a Mesothelioma UK CNS within our health board will benefit the patients and their loved ones within not only my area but the wider area too.

“I look forward to joining the Mesothelioma UK family, expanding my knowledge on mesothelioma and working closely with Sarah Morgan and all the Mesothelioma UK nurses.”

Sarah Morgan, Mesothelioma UK Senior CNS and Project Lead for Wales, added: “I am delighted that Sam is joining the Mesothelioma UK team and especially Project Cymru. The project has made great progress in its first year raising awareness of mesothelioma in Wales. The project work has highlighted the specific needs of those affected by mesothelioma in Wales and working together with colleagues across Wales we will ensure equitable access to best care, treatments, clinical trials and information, for all those affected by mesothelioma in Wales.

“I am looking forward to working closely with Sam in the future; Sam is a committed and passionate nurse who will be a great asset to the team.”

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