Outreach service helps cancer patients with their biggest concern

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 2:48pm

A quarter of (25%) cancer patients struggle to manage the emotional impact of the disease with many facing sleep problems, nightmares, fear and anxiety as a result of diagnosis, according to new analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The analysis, just launched at the Cancer Outcomes Conference in Belfast last week, takes data from almost 4,000 care plans based on Electronic Holistic Needs Assessments (eHNA). For the first time, it has revealed the top ten concerns of people with cancer after diagnosis. They are:

1. Worry, fear or anxiety
2. Tiredness / exhaustion or fatigue
3. Sleep problems / nightmares
4. Pain
5. Eating or appetite
6. Anger or frustration
7. Getting around (walking)
8. Memory or concentration
9. Hot flushes / sweating
10. Sore or dry mouth

Janet James from Landkey, near Barnstaple, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, and like many others, found her main anxiety was around her finances. She said; “We had financial troubles before and were just picking ourselves up when I was diagnosed with cancer. It’s one of the first things you think about, after thinking ‘oh my God I’ve got cancer,’ the next thing is how am I going to manage when I have to give up work?

“I was told I could claim for benefits as I had to give up work when I needed chemotherapy and an operation but I had no idea what to do. I spoke to Ros at the Macmillan CAB team and she was so helpful, so patient. She helped me fill out all the forms, saw me through it and I got my benefits. Three years later I had to do it all over again, but this time it was a bit worse and I was suffering with breathlessness too. I spoke to Ros again and saw Phil from the Macmillan CAB team at the Seamoor Unit and they were absolutely wonderful.

“If anyone is worried about their finances after a cancer diagnosis - which they will be – the Macmillan CAB team are the best people to see. They get you through the system which is a nightmare, and help with the forms which can be more like a book.

“When you’re going through cancer, you’ve got enough worries without having to worry about money as well. How you’re going to keep paying your mortgage or rent is your biggest concern. These guys are fantastic, I’d always go to them and recommend them to everybody in the same situation.”

The Macmillan CAB Welfare Benefits Advice service has been running for several years. Now it is offering an outreach service at the Seamoor Unit, the new chemotherapy and day treatment centre at North Devon District Hospital. Macmillan also contributed £104,000 to provide state of the art chemotherapy chairs and other furniture for the unit*.

Ros Thomas, Macmillan / CAB Welfare Benefits Outreach Caseworkers says; “We provide twice weekly sessions at the wonderful Seamoor Unit, so if you’re attending hospital for an appointment, or live nearby do drop in to see if we can help you. Our sessions are on Mondays and Thursdays, from 9am until 12midday, and the chemo unit receptionist will be able to point you in our direction.

“Our service actually covers Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon, and we have offices in Barnstaple and Bideford CAB, so if you can’t make it to the Seamoor Unit, do call us for advice or to book an appointment if it’s needed. They key thing to remember is that you don’t need to face the financial worries of cancer alone – we are there to help you access the benefits you’re entitled to. Money worries needn’t be your main concern.”

To contact the service for advice or to make an appointment, please call the office on 0845 8949567.

No one should face cancer alone. For support or information visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00.

Share this