Archive for the cancer awareness Category

When We Can’t Find The Right Words

When We Can't Find The Right Words

Those who know me would agree that I am very rarely lost for words, but since entering the world of cancer I find that happens quite frequently. Even after all my experience there still comes a time when I am unsure what to say. Of course I don’t let that show, because cancer conversations can be difficult for both parties, but there are times when I reflect and wonder if I should have changed something that I had just said. Sometimes a little silence in a conversation is not always a bad thing, but I know that there will always be valuable things left unsaid on both sides. Some of the most tricky conversations can be within families, where people can find it incredibly difficult to share their deepest fears and

Cancer Support Is Not Keeping Up!

Cancer Support Is Not Keeping Up!

When I first started this work way back in 2008, there were times that I did wonder if I was the only person who was very unsatisfied with the state of cancer support services outside of the clinical environment. But as time has gone on I am approached by more and more people, both patients and professionals who are finding that they also want to speak out about what should be improved. Many, like me have decided they can have more impact from outside the system, with an independent voice. There are now so many very experienced people running independent services outside of large charities and healthcare providers. The problem here is that we all struggle when it comes to marketing as most of us have very limited budgets and

The Drastic Increase In ‘Cancer Poverty’

The Drastic Increase In 'Cancer Poverty'

With my charity work increasing rapidly now, I have had so many conversations with both patients and health professionals about the issues during and after cancer treatment. It has shocked me how so many people are barely surviving financially once cancer enters their lives. Broken families, people living apart with dependent children, older people living on their own, and also regular people struggling with work and benefit issues. I knew things were bad but I hadn’t quite realised how bad they were. All the benefit advisors that I have met are absolutely full with people asking advice, with very little immediate help available. Yes there are some grants available but in many cases you have to almost jump through a hoop to get them. In my own case the cancer frightened

How Well Do We Communicate In The Cancer Sector?

How Well Do We Communicate In The Cancer Sector?

 This week I have had some incredibly diverse people contact me, but there has been a common theme so far, and that is communication. How to better engage with people about cancer? I am speaking at conferences and am visiting several organisations who all want to know how to improve their communication, to gain the type of followers they really need, to get their messages out to the right people. I think we are now beginning to learn that because we have followers, subscribers, likes etc  for our social media platforms, it does not necessarily guarantee proper engagement.  Unless you communicate in an interesting way, then why will people interact with you? This is something that I have always been aware of whilst talking and writing in the cancer market, and was brought home to me

Cancer Support At Grass Roots

Cancer Support At Grass Roots

Since the official launch of Your simPal, our free service for people affected by cancer I have been truly shocked in a positive way! We did lots of research and a soft launch about six months ago, to help us understand where, and how the demand would come. That also helped us deal with some of the unforeseen issues. But once the website was launched and the posters starting going out, organisations were busy contacting us about how they could help their patients. One of the biggest challenges that I have seen since spending so much time in the cancer sector, is a general lack of collaboration with organisations outside of your own. My general rule has been, the larger they are, the worse the problem is! We have designed the

Is Pink Stifling Blue In Breast Cancer Awareness?

Is Pink Stifling Blue In Breast Cancer Awareness?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month as you are all now well aware. The whole of the world seems to have turned pink, in what I consider to be a vulgar worldwide commercial venture. But it is only in relatively recent times that most of us understood that men get breast cancer too! I know from the huge efforts publicising my own projects how much work must go in to ensure that men are also talked about in the same breath as breast cancer. So I am truly honoured to feature the below piece from my great friend Bret Miller the founder of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, in Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. “Why did I, Bret Miller, start the Male Breast Cancer Coalition? Well let’s start from the beginning. I was 17

More Innocent Victims Of Cancer Politics

More Innocent Victims Of Cancer Politics

As many of you know, I have frequently talked about my disgust for the incredible amount of politics that are involved in the cancer world. Political games played by organisations that impact on people’s lives. The more insight I get the more it greatly disturbs me. Many people affected by cancer, trusting organisations to help them when they are vulnerable, little understanding they are just a pawn in a very big and financially lucrative business! From a game of political football by our politicians, to emotive adverts everywhere we turn. Everyone telling us they are there to help, but the practical help provided is just not at all relative to the money invested/donated. So much money that the cancer world receives gets lost in politics. Drug companies, healthcare, politicians, all fighting

“I’m Glad I Got Cancer.” Discuss!

"I'm Glad I Got Cancer." Discuss!

Firstly I would like to clarify that this is not a quote from me! It came up in a recent conversation I had with a fellow patient and someone I had met for the first time, so I was a little taken aback. I questioned the statement but the reply affirmed what had previously been said. A little further into the conversation I started to understand the point of view, but it is not certainly something I could ever say, despite the positive things that have happened since I became sick. One thing about cancer that is undoubtedly true, is that however we are touched by it, our life will have been changed forever. If we are not affected directly, it will be our loved ones, family, friends, colleagues etc.