Eight pieces of advice on dealing with the disease from leading US and UK cancer non profits and charities
Today is World Cancer Day, where millions of people come together and unite in the fight against cancer.
A cancer diagnosis goes far beyond the four walls of the medical consultation room. Increasingly, the benefit of emotional support for cancer patients is being valued as part of the overall holistic cancer treatment and care offered to a person.
We have seen evidence of this on HealthUnlocked, with a record breaking growth in requests for help and emotional support about cancer in the social network in 2016. This 82 per cent growth compared to the past year – or 33,000 different cancer mentions, posts, questions or comments on the platform – may reflect an increase in cancer cases across the globe with more people reaching out for information and emotional support outside of their clinical treatment or care.
In recognition of how cancer is touching all our lives, every family and every business, we asked some of our partners with online support communities on HealthUnlocked, for their advice and thoughts for people and families dealing with cancer.
Jacqueline Reinhard, Executive Director, SHARE
“Studies have shown that getting support when facing a cancer diagnosis can lead to better health outcomes, and it’s especially valuable to get information and support from others who have faced the particular cancer that you are facing. Those who’ve had a similar experience can explain how they managed the disease and treatment side effects and can advise how to partner with your doctor to help you get the best possible care.”
Darryl Mitteldorf, Director of Malecare:
“Keep enjoying life.”
Louise Bayne, CEO at Ovacome:
“Living with cancer is a real challenge. Getting through treatment is one thing. Finding your new normal is hard; not just for you, but for your family and friends too. Finding support and help from people who really know; people who have stood where you are makes all the difference.
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation:
“Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be a very upsetting and uncertain time for the patient and their family. It is vital to ensure you have a strong support network around you. A specialist nurse can also provide additional support and extra information. If a patient has any more questions, or just need to talk, they can call the BLF Helpline on 03000 030 555”
Esther Wroughton, director of CARE for Leukaemia CARE
“Coping with your diagnosis of cancer can be very difficult, it’s important to build relationships with people who will care for you and listen to your needs at points in your cancer journey. It’s hard to go through cancer care alone, try to include key people in your journey and reach out to other patients who understand what you are going through and can offer mutual support.”
Ellen Watters, Myeloma Information Specialist at Myeloma UK
“It is very easy for patients and family members to feel isolated and strong emotions often make it difficult to discuss worries or fears. Talking to a friend, family member, other patient or someone completely impartial can make a huge difference.”
Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation:
“You know your own body best. If you notice any changes – talk to someone. Our nurse-led helpline is here to help, or speak to your oncologist or Cancer Nurse Specialist. It’s good to talk! Our helpline is on FREEPHONE 0800 358 7200 or visit our online community on HealthUnlocked.”
Sherie Reinders, Chief Operating Officer of Free to Breathe:
“With so many treatment options available to patients, and with constant advancements in technology and research in the cancer world, our hope is strengthening. Just remember to surround yourself with a good support network, because we feed off of each other’s hope, and we need to fight this disease together.”
HealthUnlocked is the third largest health website in the UK and in the top 20 health websites globally. Millions of people come to the platform to get access to support from other people who are going through similar experiences which contributes to improving health outcomes and patient activation.