A national cancer charity is investing nearly £400,000 in three new specialist nursing roles at two Midland hospitals to improve patients' access to vital advice and services.
Macmillan Cancer Relief is to appoint a clinical nurse specialist in bone marrow transplant at Heartlands Hospital - the first appointment of its kind in Britain.
The charity will fund this role with more than £135,000 over the next three years.
A further two CNS posts, in skin cancer, will also be funded with nearly £249,000 - one based at Sandwell Hospital and the other at Heartlands Hospital.
Macmillan Cancer Relief also funds over 100 other roles in hospitals across the region, ranging from clinical psychologists to neuro-oncology CNS's.
Clair McGarr - a CNS at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - is only able to see melanoma cases, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, because there are not enough nurse specialists.
"Since I began working here in 2002 I've built up a list of more than 650 patients.
" On average I see between 250 and 300 new patients a year," she said.
"But that's just a drop in the ocean if you consider more than 67,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year - of those 7,000 have melanoma."
Mrs McGarr added: "We're not hands-on but we do offer a support network.
"These new roles will make a big difference to patients because Sandwell doesn't have a skin cancer CNS at present and the bone marrow transplant specialist at Heartlands is the first in the UK."
The charity's regional fund-raisers must now raise about £500,000 within the next year in order to finance their vital work.
Businesses across the Midlands are being urged to encourage employees to "bring a £1 to work" on July 1 to give their fund-raising campaign an early boost.
Any companies keen to take part can contact Macmillan Cancer Relief on 0121 742 6393 or email birmingham@macmillan. org.uk