Archive for the cancer awareness Category

A List For Living

A List For Living

I would like to start by wishing everybody a happy New Year! Over the years I have found the Christmas holidays a great time to reflect on what happened for me in 2016 and make a bit of a map for things I want to do in 2017. This has become even more important, after the terrible year of celebrity deaths we have just left. My mum also died last year and I have spent a long time trying to straighten everything out, after a very complex legal saga. So from that perspective a very emotionally challenging time. It is ironic that I had already selected this subject before the deaths of Rick Parfitt, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher. Many of these people were ‘taken’ relatively early, but seem to

Looking Beyond The ‘Cancer Label’

Looking Beyond The 'Cancer Label'

One of the great things about the work I do is that I get to meet so many wonderful people from around the world. Of course social media has been an incredible tool for me, so distance is no longer a barrier. A regular part of my life now is ‘Skyping’ with people in some far flung places, and we are all talking about the issues surrounding cancer. Of course many of these are common, wherever we live, so it is wonderful to be part of the global movement that is working to improve the lives of people living with cancer. One of those wonderful people I referred to earlier is Chloé, who writes about the issues of being ‘labeled,’ and the negativity that this can create. I don’t know why, but as

From An Oncologists Perspective

From An Oncologists Perspective

This week I wanted to share the below piece which I read several weeks ago. It is written anonymously by a member of staff on an oncology ward. It helped me understand the cancer landscape from a very different perspective to my own! “People assume that oncology is all doom, gloom and death. To be honest it can be, but thankfully not all of the time, or else nobody could cope with doing it. Cancer can be a disease of dreadful retrospectives – that lump that was looked at but not biopsied; that mole that was judged to be OK. These patients and their families are justifiably angry. Others have refused to see what was plainly staring them in the face. For most of our patients the actual diagnosis of

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