Monthly Archives: January 2013

New Year Exercise Programme ANYONE can follow



exercise cartoon



One simple exercise

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you
have plenty of room at each side.

With a 2kg potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight
out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can.
Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.
After a couple of weeks, move up to 5kg potato bags.

Then try 25kg potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you
can lift a 50kg potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight
for more than a full minute.

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

Thanks to M for sending in this – another cancer patient who has same sense of humour as me.



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Britain Against Cancer


The Great Clock

The Great Clock (Photo credit: Martin Deutsch)









This was the 14th annual gathering, and it’s beginning to show its age.  Chairman, John Baron, MP,  gave a rousing introduction which promised much – but by the time we gathered for the first break-out session, entitled What Patients want from the NHS,  it became obvious that lessons from previous conferences haven’t been learnt.

Looking round the room, there were the usual faces present.  Sitting at democratically-placed tables-in-the-round;  each was to be ‘hosted’ by one of the ‘usual’ volunteers, leaving one to wonder why were we banging the same drum which obviously wasn’t being listened to.

Instead, it would have surely been more productive to get hosts who were tasked with actually providing what patients want;   listening to what we said we wanted, Why not  bring in some of the high and mighty who pontificate about cancer care in today’s NHS, but obviously aren’t listening to patients?  When faced with a dozen patients – they would HAVE to listen.

Each Delegate psck contained a dinky postcard, offering “London Cancer’s overall  mission is to drive superior outcomes…….” etc. etc.  Why not say it is to improve care, in plain simple language?  That’s what we all want, and things are improving – but too slowly for some. 

Wot, nothing from Europe?

Macmillan were involved in running this event, and their letest survey says London’s cancer care is lagging way behind the rest of the UK.  Being so close to the Continent, it would have been an ideal  opportunity to invite European experts, and listen to some straight-talking from their Oncologists as to why we are lagging behind. 

But it seems UK PLC is too arrogant to ask advice from other countries, even if their care enables their citizens to live far longer after a cancer diagnosis.

Europa Donna (the European-wide consortium of Breast Cancer societies) were present;  perhaps next year Macmillan might ask them to provide speakers?

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

CNSs were talked about as a ‘good thing’ that everyone should have access to.  A straw poll produced the information that patients considered access to a helpful CNS was most important – where he or she was based was less important – it was access, even at the end of a phone or email, that patients wanted.But one wonders why the Chief Nurse, or whoever, wasn’t called to the Platform to answer why they aren’t available to every patient?  Many patients were treat five or even ten years ago, but have never been given access to a CNS, even though post-cancer they will have many questions.  Lots of Jaw Jaw, but no action – and so it went on. 

There was a feeling that patients still weren’t being given enough care and support once they had left hospital, and access to a CNS (when needed) would be helpful for all.

Plenty of MPs were present;  one of them, Andy Burnham (ex-Health Minister) was a speaker;  he  gave a very good speech, but so he should.  He doesn’t have the cares of office any longer, so it is easy to comment, knowing you can’t be held accountable.  But as usual the audience was not given enough time to ask questions as he had ‘another engagement’.  One wonders what was more important than talking about health.

Next Year

This could be the ideal opportunity to make the conference really meaningful.  Macmillan should forget its politicing – and get some dialogue going.  What about

  • a head-to-head with Andy Burnham questioning Mike Richards? 
  •  Mitzi Blennerhasset questioning Julietta Patnick on screening
  • and am sure readers can think of other interesting combinations!

Get the ‘great and good’ out of their Consulting rooms, and into the sessions to actually meet with nurses and patients to answer their questions.

But will anyone be brave enough to organise such a gathering?


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