Archive for the Cancer Support Category

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

“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.

Working Together Against Womb Cancer

Working Together Against Womb Cancer

I would like to thank Dr Emma Crosbie and Daloni Carlisle for writing this incredibly informative blog and I am delighted to be able to feature it in Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month.  Just over two years ago, the Womb Cancer Alliance set out to find the top ten research priorities in womb cancer. This month they were published in the esteemed Gynaecologic Oncology Journal. We couldn’t be more proud – or more excited. It’s been a long road but that’s because this was a truly consultative exercise where clinicians, researchers and lay people worked hand in hand to identify and prioritise the questions that matter to all of us, collectively. Over 400 people took part generating 247 research questions. Deciding the top ten from such a long list was no easy task. Our