A referral to the Marsden?

Hiya, I’m currently being treated at Coventry but, since moving to London, and since being diagnosed with a local recurrence, facing a few weeks of radiotherapy, I am considering asking if they can refer me to the Marsden. I am, though, slightly embarrassed at asking this - I feel very strongly about the NHS - it is a wonderful invention and I really struggle with the reality that one person, just by virtue of where they live, will have a very different experience of treatment than someone else living somewhere else. And yet, at the same time, I can’t help but shout to myself but why shouldn’t I want the best for myself, knowing very well that treatment is relatively standard/consistent (or at least the NICE guidelines suggest that it should be).

I’d be interested to know what you would do - there are several hospitals that are slightly closer to my home/work but only by a matter of minutes and there are several female surgeons/oncologists at the Marsden that I think I’d value seeing - they may have a different view on my after care/further treatment.

Yours confused.


Hi Naz,
Don’t beat yourself up- you have to go somewhere:)
The facts are that you have moved to London so therefore have to move hospitals. There are lots of hospitals in London with good reps. Research what these other hospitals nearer you offer, are they deemed centres of excellence? The BCC helpline can tell you that because when I mentioned my hospital to them they said, oh stay there it’s a centre of excellence.
Not all hospitals offer the same things eg different reconstruction techniques (although it sounds like it is rads you are facing at the mo), different guidelines on clearance when doing lumpectomy or WLE. I gather the national guideline is 3cm and some hospitals insist on more.There may be things to do with rads that are done differently at different hospitals.
Decide on what is important to you and make your decision on that. If the Marsden is further from you I guess it is possible that you won’t even be allowed to be referred to it unless it offers something your more local hospital doesn’t. Eg I asked to be referred to the Marsden as my local hospital didn’t do the recon I wanted but they did, however I didn’t want to be so far away (30 miles). I ended up changing my mind.
Good luck, I understand your moral dilema but you are not taking the treatment away from anyone and you have to have it somewhere. x

Hi there

The Marsden is an NHS hospital, but they only specialise in Cancer. I was under my local NHS hospital and the treatment was “ok” but my mum had been treated at the Marsden and my family bullied me into changing, and boy am I glad I did.

They way I look at it is their the experts, their a centre of Excellence, why would I want to be treated at my local general hospital when I could be treated somewhere that specialises in my illness. When I had an eye problem I went to Moorfields, so now I have cancer I choose to have my treatment at a cancer hospital. Please please dont not feel guilty for doing the best you can to get better.

By the way the Marsden is a foundation hospital and anybody anywhere in the country can be treated there. I was told they have people that come down from the North for appointments.

Hugs. xxx

Hi I get treated at the Marsden it’s a great hospital they know what they are doing not like my last nhs hos who told me there was not a lot of chemos that wld work I’ve only had 2 doses at the Marsden lumps reduced by 80 percent they are v gd they all treat you the same as it’s a cancer hos u don’t look out of plc there I think they also have plp from abroad hope you get on ok no harm in calling the pals team or get gp to refer you gd luck Laura

Naz, I understand your reservations re NHS, but quite honestly I’d go for it.

The Marsden is an excellent hospital with plenty of resources. They take up the slack from other hospitals when they can’t cope with the amount of patients. For one, I was offered radiation at the Marsden and told that I would be helping my hospital (Brighton) to meet their targets if I went for it, because their wait is months beyond the guidelines.

I never had to wait for an appointment, neither with an onc or radiation, or for a scan. It is so efficient there compared to other hospitals I’ve been to.

I don’t think you’d be queue jumping or making someone else wait - they actually seem to have spare radiation slots. They have 7 rooms with equipment, which is pretty good.

xxx Jane

Jane72 I’m from Brighton I had some treatment at rsch but I’m now Beeing treated at the the Marsden I don’t regreat changing for a min


I live in South London and think the Marsden is the right choice for anyone having chemo. The only other option is the cancer hospital in Wimbledon (great name don’t you think) but I think thats only private. You should have no worries

I was treated at the Marsden and they are fantastic!! The one in Wimbledon is the Parkside oncology clinic and yes it is private! But I did my Feel Good, Look Better session there!! Debs x

Thanks, guys, you’ve reassured me to just ask! Its no real distance from where I work and entirely justifiable. I go back on Friday for my results (fingers crossed they were able to get it all - again!).

naz, x

Hi Naz,

Just had another check-up at the Marsden in Fulham yesterday - I transferred there a year ago after awful initial treatment at my local hospital and I am very glad I did! I’m not there as a private patient but it feels so different from the previous hospital nevertheless. Even though it is an hour or so to travel to, it is definitely worth it.

Best of luck,
Annette X