It’s Good To Give….

It's Good To Give....

Since the soft launch of our free calls/txts/data service for people affected by cancer several months ago, we established quickly that it’s popularity demanded that it had it’s own platform. So we have been working on a new site, Twitter, Facebook etc, to enable people to see clearly what we do and how they can support us. When I was initially approached with this idea, there were two very definite requirements I had. The first one was that it wasn’t duplicating anything else that is being done already, and secondly that it fitted with the ‘transparency’ of my own ‘brand.’ There is very definitely no service out there that is doing what we are, and working in a ‘no strings attached way.’ As all referrals for the service come to me, I

Dying Of Embarrassment?

Dying Of Embarrassment?

 Having just returned from a very sunny family holiday, I can’t believe that we are nearly in September, which of course is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. As you know I work across all tumour types, because many issues regarding cancer support are common. I am delighted to collaborate with many organisations involved with these cancers, and was shocked to find that lack of knowledge and embarrassment is so prevalent in this sector! There are many similarities with Bowel Cancer, Prostate Cancer etc. In this day and age we should no longer feel awkward talking about our intimate body parts to health professionals. As we all know many cancers can be treated successfully if caught early enough, which many of these are not. Much of my own work is about trying to bring many of the hidden

“How Are You?”

"How Are You?"

As most of you know well, my own health can be very unreliable, and if I’m honest it is something I get fed up with talking about in a social setting. Unfortunately the fact is that I will never have normal health now, and will always be reliant on hospital care at some stage, and this post is prompted by some conversations I have had recently whilst doing my support work. When meeting people for the first time it is usual to explain what connection you have with cancer, to help you understand their experience. This I have done, which has prompted numerous conversations later about how no one would know what I have been through and how well I look. Everyone is very kind and well meaning, and actually

It’s A Lottery Even In The Same Postcode!

It's A Lottery Even In The Same Postcode!

The work that I do in cancer support has changed dramatically over the years, and I have had to adjust with the increase of demand on my time. My speaking engagements and charity take a bulk of my time now, with writing filling any gaps. But one thing I was determined to continue with is my monthly prostate group facilitation, which I have been doing now for 8 years. This is done at my local cancer centre and we have a group of approximately 30, with new members every month. We have professionals from the local community as guest speakers and everyone shares their experiences to try and improve the offer for patients coming into the system now. Our members come from a very local area and in general visit the

#HELLOMYNAMEIS

#HELLOMYNAMEIS

It is very rare for me to write about things that have already had enormous publicity, as I normally ask myself two questions before I write. The first is can I add anything to what has gone before and secondly, will my readers be interested enough to read it?  In this case I have read a lot about the incredible Dr Kate Granger and we were also ‘Twitter pals.’ Like so many of my friends on social media, we shared our stories openly for the benefit of others. Also like many we have lost, Kate will leave a massive hole for everyone who knew her. I don’t want to cover much of what has been talked about before, but I want to use her example of what is really possible. We are

Survivorship, A Clinicians Perspective!

Survivorship, A Clinicians Perspective!

With thanks to my recent collaboration with the Academy of Fabulous Stuff run by Roy Lilley and Doctor Terri Porrett I am having many more conversations with N.H.S health professionals who are interested in my views around cancer support. Of course we have different perspectives of the problems but I am yet to find anyone who doesn’t agree these services could be a whole lot better. Below is a piece written by Dr Oliver Minton, after a conversation we had recently. Purely by chance Ollie is a Consultant at my own hospital, and he gives his own views on the subject! (Please note that the picture used in this piece is NOT Dr Minton) “I was invited to attend the inaugural cancer survivorship conference in Brussels—at the time our interests aligned (and

Changing Our Treatment Approach

Changing Our Treatment Approach

For many years, cancer has been considered a death sentence, and people were very pleased just to survive a diagnosis. Our clinicians would do what they could to rid us of this terrible disease, without too much thought of what our lives would look like afterwards. Now, many more of us are surviving which is great news, but struggling with the after effects of treatment. Not just physical but emotional and psychological too. What we have done previously is just really treat the physical symptoms, without thinking how that will affect us mentally. Today we have learned that to be really successful when treating people affected by cancer we need to use a much more holistic approach, dealing with the mind and body together. Helping your mind and body heal together

Trying To Find Work After Cancer?

Trying To Find Work After Cancer?

In recent weeks I have been asked several times, to talk about the issues of work and cancer, and during my presentations I have heard some very powerful personal stories about the practical issues involved. There was an extremely positive story, where a position was created especially for someone who could no longer do their previous work because of their illness, but all the rest have been terrible. Child care, financial and benefit issues, and a total lack of opportunity once cancer is declared as a disability have been all too common. The massive positive though is that as I have continually worked to publicise these issues I have been invited to share my experiences and collaborate with decision makers in the N.H.S who want to understand better how we