When first diagnosed with cancer of any kind, members of the Living Tree agree that one of the top priorities is building a support network that will help the cancer patient and their family through the treatment process and beyond.
Start an address book with all the useful contacts:

The cancer patient’s first port of call is the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). Usually, when being diagnosed you will be given the name and contact details of the Clinical Nurse Specialist for your particular cancer. The CNS is the most accessible health care professional to you during your cancer journey.

She is very knowledgeable:

  • Ask her any question about your condition and if she doesn’t know the answer she’ll find out for you or tell you where to find the information yourself.
  • If you have questions about the general treatment process, surgery or post surgical treatment, she is the person to approach.
  • If you are panicking about symptoms, ask the Clinical Nurse Specialist. She will either reassure you or refer you to the consultant.
  • If you want to find out the results of tests, the CNS has access to your medical file.

Another useful phone number to have is that of your consultant’s secretary (to check up on appointments, referral letters, tests etc.).

While most of us have family we can rely on to support us, being member of a support group gives you instant access to people who understand your condition because they’ve been there themselves. Read some of our own members’ accounts of their cancer journeys and how being part of a self-help group made their life more bearable.

A further source of support may be your local hospice.

Most people think that hospice care is available only to the terminally ill at the very end of their life.

This is a misconception. According to www.helpthehospices.org.uk hospice services are available to anyone with an advancing life threatening illness (e.g. cancer, heart failure or lung disease), as long as they are likely to benefit from the skills of the hospice care team and the environment a hospice can offer.

Availability of hospice care is dependent on patients’ needs rather than their prognosis. Individual hospices may apply slightly varying definitions as to patient groups qualifying for their care services.

Please find below a list of some of the services hospices supply:

  • Support at home, in day centres and for hospital in-patients
  • Complementary therapy
  • Support for carers
  • Bereavement care
  • Religious and spiritual support
  • Practical advice

Click here to see a clip how our local hospice, the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, helped Liz, one of our members.

Please find a link to the Weldmar Hospice here.