The world is a very different place now we are living with Covid! That certainly includes the cancer sector, which has now been set back many years, by lack of investment and urgency, amongst other things. Including NHS staff, we all know that cancer care has been struggling for years to keep up with ever increasing demand. But now it seems like cutting cancer patients adrift, is the ballast that we have cast away to keep the entire service afloat.
Our clinicians are doing their best, within very trying circumstances. But ultimately the offer to people affected by cancer, and their families is just not acceptable. The system is totally broken and no longer fit for purpose! Cancer charities are actively seeking their own ‘life boats’ trying to keep themselves going. There can be no guarantee of what support looks like from this sector going forward. Given the relatively small successes gained from this route over the years, it might not necessarily be a bad thing? Considering also, the amount of money allocated to political lobbying and campaigning by these organisations.
Having seen the incredible pace of dealing with Covid across the world, we know that ‘where there’s a will there is a way.‘ Red tape stripped back to speed up necessary processes. It was so refreshing to see, not just as a patient, but I know the staff were also pleasantly surprised too! So why now, when we have done all these incredible things, do we leave people affected by cancer to fend for themselves?
The facts are that cancer will now directly affect 50% of us in our lifetime, and at least 450 people are dying daily!(Further specific figures in the document below.) It is one of the biggest killers in the world. Why is research being cut back, and what is happening to the backlog of treatment? Today, everybody is well rewarded for lack of progress, how can that be? Pharmaceuticals, politicians, research companies, and giant charities included. Millions of pounds being pumped into it but baring no real relation to progress.
Of course there is some good work, but I suggest much of it is related to the use of technology which has improved dramatically in recent years. The impact of cancer in society cannot be understated both physically and psychologically. The human cost is incredible, in such a supposed ‘forward thinking’ country. Currently, even if we survive our diagnosis, we are discriminated against from employment to banks and at almost any important stage of our life.
So as the world tries to reset itself, it is already clear where people affected by cancer sit in the hierarchy of life. Being left to suffer in silence, as many have no long-term life expectancy! We are left watching on helplessly, as our friends die. Whilst nothing is done to help them live their best possible life. Pre-Covid, everyone was telling us they were doing all they could. Most I’m sure were, but within the system that we now know as not fit for purpose. It is just not good enough!
Whatever was or wasn’t being done the results are clear to see. Cancer patients and families being dropped like the proverbial hot potato. I am not wasting time on the ‘blame game’ but no part of this sector comes out with much credit! I have see the roundabout turning with the same issues coming up year after year. But I can sit back no longer!
Myself and the wonderful Jo Taylor a friend and fellow patient, who many of you will know from her incredible work in the breast cancer community. Jo is the founder of ABC Diagnosis and the wonderful patient advocacy group MetUp UK #BusyLivingWithMets We have decided enough is enough of this rubbish, and want to start a ‘Movement,’ totally independent of any charities etc, where the patient/carer/family voice is heard directly. This is for all cancers, right across the board! No fluffy stuff, but the reality from you all about what is happening. We know things can change because we are seeing it daily, and have been fobbed off for too long. This is a scandal which has to be heard and pressure applied. We have talked for centuries about cancer and it will be centuries more, if we don’t do anything now!
How can you help?? Easily is the answer. We understand that the pressure of cancer itself is enough so don’t want too much from you. Please follow Jo and I on Twitter etc, and let us know the things you are concerned about. Feel free to drop us a message or contact me through this blog. Working together we can ensure all our voices are heard. We don’t have to worry about running a large organisation so can react quickly to what is going on. No more waiting for other organisations and their politics, we will go straight to the top ourselves. If we need to ‘name and shame’ we will, until things improve!
Everybody tells us how powerful the patient voice is. Lets see how strong it is when we speak together!! Please feel free to share this far and wide. Thank you for your support in advance, Chris @christheeagle1 and Jo @abcdiagnosis #PatientsTogether
If by chance you do need any further persuading please read the below document, which will show you how bad things are already becoming.