BDA Oncology Specialist Group Newsletter 2019

Message from Chair

Happy New Year and welcome to the Spring Edition of the BDA Oncology Specialist Group newsletter.  We are keen to hear from all members as so below is the link to our annual survey.

The main point of the survey is to garner feedback and identify how as a committee we can best to support members and the findings will form the basis of our future work plan. In the past we have used this survey to develop the forum, the webinars and now a tier one study day.

We continue to have the most active forum of all the specialist groups and this is our main mode for communication. This year we are going to try sending more frequent newsletters which should aide with disseminating information – so if you have ideas or posters/audits/projects/initiatives to share do get in touch.

There continues to be many exciting developments within the field of nutrition and oncology. As a committee we have had a busy few months in particular working with Macmillan and the Royal Society of Anaesthetists to develop guidance on Prehabilitation and Cancer. This will be launched in the summer. We have also been invited by the British Society of Gastroenterologists to input into guidance for Immunotherapy Colitis to ensure that not just the medical needs are addressed but also their nutritional needs.  We also continue to work with NIHR Nutrition and Cancer collaborative on possible joint initiatives.

We continue to have input in the development of national resources with charities such as WCR, and Macmillan. We have also worked closely with the NDR-UK In updating the oncology specific dietary resources. A group of members have also been working hard in developing a Myths guide for dietitians – hopefully for launch later this year.

I am delighted that the Head and neck and haematology sub groups have both grown their committees and been working hard. We have also had a number of people volunteer to relaunch the Gastrointestinal sub group and we will welcome them to the committee in April. There is still spaces on any sub group so do  volunteer  especially when you see calls for requests for any projects you see in the future as your sub group needs you.

Sadly we have had to say good-bye to two of our committee members Rhys White - Study Day Coordinator and Sarah Wheeldon – Newsletter Editor. Both have been on the committee for almost 4 years and have given so much time, enthusiasm and hard work. They will be missed.  Volunteers to the committee are invaluable and the work they do in supporting the group is all done in addition to their day-to-day work. I’m sure you’ll all join me in raising a glass and thanking them for their contribution.

As a result of these changes we have reviewed the committee roles. Deborah Howland, the communication lead is going to take on this year’s study day. We are seeking a new Newsletter Editor’s role and we have decided to create a new role – Social Media and I would be happy to discuss this further with anyone keen to joining what is a very friendly committee.

Finally I would like to say a big personal thank you to the committee and look forward to working together in 2019.


Sub-group Update: Haematology

Welcome all new members and thank you to existing members for continuing to be part of the subgroup.   I hope 2019 is going well so far.We carried out a ‘Nutrition in Transplant’ survey towards the end of last year, it has given us some result but due to only 42% of recipients’ completing the 10 question survey these are small numbers.  We are hoping to use this information to formulate a poster for conference submission and to help guide project ideas for this year.   We are looking for members to join the subgroup committee to help with projects and to act as support for others.  This would not take up a lot of time, 2 meetings a year and Skype calls/ virtual meetings between.  If you would be interested in joining the committee please do get in touch.  We look forward to continuing promoting nutrition in Haematology during 2019.Natasha Jones, Chair

Sub-group Update: Head and Neck Sub-group seeking new committee members!

The head and neck sub-group has around 250 members and a committee of 7.  The committee meets twice a year and aims to promote the role of the head and neck oncology Dietitian at local and national level, whilst aligning with the aims and objectives of the main Oncology Specialist Group.

We are currently looking for 2-3 more members to join us as Ordinary members within the committee.  There is a formal election process to committee roles which includes nomination from 2 other Oncology Specialist Group members.  If you are interested, please contact our secretary Helen Harrison ( or Chair, Pippa Mather ( for further details, by Friday 5th April 2019.

BAHNO 2019 – Education and networking event for dietitians working in Head and Neck Oncology. Royal College of Physicians, London - Friday 17th May 2019

Registration is open for the annual meeting of BAHNO (British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists), taking place in London on 17th May 2019.  The topic this year is ‘Paradigm Shifts in Head & Neck Cancer management’ and the programme will include topics relevant to AHPs working in head and neck cancer, such as prehabilitation in cancer care.  The meeting is also a great opportunity to network with other dietitians and health professionals in the field and the BDA H&N sub-group will have a stand at the meeting, with a focus on nutritional assessment.  Learn more at:

Development of a Tier 1 course in Dietetics and Oncology

The group is currently putting together a Tier 1 course in Dietetics and Oncology aimed at dietitians.  The resources for the sessions will be developed and we are looking for members to review the content in accordance with the BDA guidance on developing a CED course.

If you are interested in reviewing the course content and resources please send a short summary of your areas of expertise to Dr Clare Shaw at

We will be allocating members to review individual sessions to help spread the workload.

If you have any questions please contact Clare Shaw at the above email address.

Opportunity to attend stakeholder event for prehabilitation in cancer care. The Wesley Euston Hotel & Conference Venue, London - Monday 11th March 2019, 10am-4pm

Macmillan, the NIHR and Royal College of Anaesthetists are working together on a project to develop UK wide principles and guidance for prehabilitation in oncology.  This partnership project, also known as the FACT project, commenced in May 2018 and completion date has been set for July 2019, to coincide with the World Prehabilitation Congress taking place in London.

There are three main work streams within the project looking at physical activity, dietary support and psychological wellbeing. Recently a consensus development workshop was held for all three working groups which helped to define the recommendations for inclusion in the guidance.  It is intended that outputs from the workshop will be shared with wider stakeholder groups for input and feedback at the meeting on 11th March. 

Dietitians and other health professionals working in cancer care are invited to attend the stakeholder event.  Attendees should register their place on Eventbrite via the following link:

BTOG Summary

Rachel Bracegirdle, Macmillan Lung Oncology Dietitian at Guys Hospital, represent the BDA Specialist Oncology Group at BTOG (British Thoracic Oncology Group Annual Conference). You can find a link here for Rachel’s summary of the event.

BDA Oncology Group Education Award

Last year we opened applications for a £950 grant to support education.  To submit an application, please write a summary of what the award would fund.  This may include a conference, visit to another department or centre or undertake a course.  The submission must be relevant to the practice of dietetics and oncology and be carried out with the aim of increasing knowledge and improving patient care.

Applications for this award should be sent to Clare Shaw, Research and Education, BDA Oncology Specialist Group

Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust Publications

The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust was set up in 2016 in memory of 4-year-old Grace, who passed away from a renal rhabdoid tumour. We are a relatively new but growing charity that funds research into rare childhood cancers. We also offer support to parents and work to aid earlier diagnosis of childhood cancers through raising awareness of signs and symptoms of how it may present.

Our publications are evidence based, peer reviewed and written by medics following the guidance of the Information Standard. We are pleased to announce 3 new publications that we have been working on.  NG Tubes For Kids, Managing Your Child’s Pain& When Pain Does Not Go Away.

Later this year, we will be releasing a booklet for children on G tubes / buttons as well as a number of other topics.  The one on G tubes will be suitable for all children that need a gastrostomy, not just those with cancer. There is also a booklet for parents that will look at ports, lines and tubes. This will include quite detailed sections on NG tubes and G tubes and also central lines for parents, particularly for children with cancer. 

Our resources can be ordered free of charge from our website.

Jennifer Kelly, Director of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust

Newsletter Contributions Welcome

We would like to welcome contributions for our newsletters which are sent to all OSG members. It is a great way to share the great work you are doing with other Oncology Specialist Dietitians. Please do get in touch.