SUPPORT CENTRES help with ‘invisible’ costs of cancer
Support Centres not only provide support for those surviving, but research is proving that people who use a suitable centre for support could be living longer.
At a recent Macmillan conference, a doctor mentioned in his speech that statistics tell us that ten years after diagnosis, 60% of cancer patients are still having to seek treatment for long-term side effects from cancer drugs. So patients may still need support, years after their treating hospital has discharged them.
So the lucky ones turn to a Support Centre where they find a range of helpful assistance, which they can access when they want it. This may include information, massage, reflexology and other therapies, benefits advice, counselling, dance and yoga classes, nutrition advice, etc. They are all different, with different ‘specialities’; their only ‘common’ factor is generally welcoming you with a warm smile and a cup of tea or coffee – before they ask how they can help.
Some provide help whenever and to whoever needs it – others have to limit what help they offer as they do not have the resources to look after everyone. Ask.
Ashford Breast Cancer Support Group Ashford Hospital, Middx. Meets 2nd Monday each month 017834-455760/01784-252 344
They hold meetings last Friday of month at Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple, Westfield Lane, Kenton, Harrow, Middx,HA3 9EA.
Barnet and District Cancer Link Wednesday Drop-ins at Catholic Church of Mary Immaculate, Union Street, Barnet. 020 8446 3104 Weds. 1.30 – 4 pm. They supply physiotherapy, reflexology, manicures, etc. – and there is no waiting list!
BESS (Breast Cancer Ealing Self Support Group) Ealing Hospital. Meet 3rd Wednesday every month. 020 8574-7939/020 8843-9582
Betterdays Cancer Care was founded by Marina Raime to provide advocacy and support for women with breast cancer. The primary objective of this organization is to provide a strong support base, particularly for BME women, and an emotional safe haven for breast cancer survivors to express their fears, frustrations, and concerns. Marina says “we provide updates of breast cancer educational information, to teach each member and non-member to take responsibility for their own health, so that they can reclaim a sense of control in their lives”. www.betterdays.uk.com
Bosom Friends Community Cancer Centre, Yiewsley, Middx. 01895-448329
They often choose to set up in unusual buildings (the one in London is in a redundant Church) and have lovely stained glass and other decorations – the one here is a window, which is peaceful to look at, but inspiring.
They offer different therapies, according to which therapists are available, but I had some excellent massages whilst I was there. www.breastcancerhaven.org.uk
Cancer Choices, 29 Carland Road, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, BT71 4AA
Cancerkin Centre at Royal Free Hospital, Just off North London’s Hampstead Heath. It is a breast cancer charity. Its activities include: one-to-one support by trained volunteer visitors with personal experience of breast cancer. group support meetings, massage and reflexology, ‘Look Good – Feel Better’, Lymphoedema clinic by hospital specialist referral (upper limb problems related to breast cancer treatment only),Counselling, psychotherapy, Information – courses – seminars, Yoga class. Psycho-sexual counselling. Drop-in information library with internet facilities. Art therapy. Creative writing, Pilates, etc. 020 7830 2323 or 2310 www.cancerkin.org.uk
Cancer Lifeline 44 Alliance Avenue, Belfast, BT14 7PJ (tel. no. 028 90 351 999)
Care for Cancer, 10 Prospect Court, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT78 1AR, (tel. no. 028 82 246 599)
Cherry Lodge Cancer Care Offers a Cancer Information Nurse, Welfare Benefits advice, Home Visiting, Massage, Reflexology, Reiki, |ilates, Qi Gong, Yoga, etc. and Workshops. 23 Union Street, Barnet, EN5 4HY 020 8441 7000 www.cherrylodgecancercare.org.uk
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Ground Floor, 369, Fulham Road, Chelsea, London SW10 9NH. 020 8237-2386. http://www.chelwest.nhs.uk Russ Hargreaves runs a small but very welcoming information centre, with a limited amount of therapies. Lots of sensible books and leaflets, and tea and coffees. And when I need to have medical terms or theories explained to me, Russ does this in incredibly simple, easy-to-understand language. He deserves a Crystal Award!
Chrysalis is the Crawley (Surrey) Breast Cancer group who meet at 7.30 every last working Monday of the month, at thePostgraduate Medical Centre, Crawley Hospital, West Green, Crawley. www.chrysalisbreastgroup.org.uk
Community Cancer Support Drop-in Centre, Yiewsley, has opened to provide information and support for people with cancer and those caring for them by providing General information, counseling, support groups, complementary therapies and other services. Our aim is to help people who are diagnosed with cancer and feel isolated, vulnerable and afraid by providing the answers of their questions to provide support, access to self help, and to help anyone affected by cancer regain a sense of control in their lives.
We are a group of people who have had personal and professional experience of cancer and who are particularly aware of the need for people to talk when they or someone close to them has been affected by cancer.
We see the centre as bridging the gap between home and hospital, with links to all aspects of health care, voluntary and statutory.
The centre opening time: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.30pm 18A Fairfield Road, Yiewsley, Middlesex, UB7 8EX 01895 461016. www.communitycancercentre.org.uk
Fatigue Management Service, Neil Cliffe Cancer Care Centre. Wythenshawe Hospital, Southmoor Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester M23 9LT Tel: 0161 291 2912
Guise and Dolls They were formed for Head and Neck Cancer patients at Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospitals in London (Florence Nightingale started St. Thomas’). Their website is fun to navigate, and they have a moving poem from a breast cancer survivor on their site. Good easy-to-read information about diet, and lots of fun things to click on. http://www.guiseanddolls.org.uk
Gosport, Hampshire 023 9250 1503 email@example.com www.harbourcancer.org.uk
The premises are located on the first floor, so if access may be a problem call them and they can arrange to come to your home or meet at an alternative location.
The Haven Centre, Blantyre Health Centre, Victoria Street, Blantyre, G72 0BS, Tel: 01698 727884
The Living Tree
The Living Tree, living well with cancer, is a self-help support group & weekly drop in based in West Dorset
but open to anyone who considers
themselves within reach.
They meet Fridays 2.00-4.30pm at Friends MeetingHouse, 95 South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NZ and provide information,speakers & support on diet, exercise, relaxation, therapies, creative
arts etc to help us live well with and beyond cancer.
Contact: 01308 427851, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lifestyle Club is held at the Darnton Drop In Centre at Tameside Hospital, Ashton – under-Lyne
The Lifestyle Club was founded at the request of the patients who were interested in making healthy lifestyle choices. We initially started out meeting as a group (aka Weight Watchers) with a view to sharing hints and tips between patients, but this has evolved into one-to-one sessions where clients are able to discuss topics (such as fear of recurrence, body image issues) which they prefer to discuss confidentially.
Irene Murray is a qualified Life Coach, available between 11.30 – 1.00 to offer weigh-in, BMI and body fat testing, food diaries and advice on the 4 pillars of health: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Relaxation. A survivor of 9 years, who has devoted her time to researching Quality of Life and Healthy Lifestyle. Specialises in working with people after a diagnosis of cancer to make lifestyle changes to improve chances of survival and improve Quality of Life. 01457 763474, 07887 654953 or via e:mail email@example.com http://www.tamesidehospital.nhs.uk/Pages/OurServicesDarntonDropIn.asp
Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre, Mount Vernon Hospital. Drop-in centre for support and information, telephone helpline, Benefits advice, pre-treatment advice, Complementary Therapies, Relaxation Sessions, regular courses and events. Mount Vernon Hospital, Rickmansworth Road, Northwood, HA6 2RN. 01923-844014 www.ljmc.org
LILAC CENTRE , 3 Barrack Square, Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, BT71 4JG (tel. no. 028 87 746 600)
Macmillan have over 800 contact centres across UK. Some are just a nurse with information – but some are large, well equipped centres. Find nearest one on http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Get_Support/Cancer_support_groups/Search_Results.aspx?c=0
Macmillan aren’t just for the terminally ill, but have marvellous comforting centres all over Britain with helpful information staff, therapies and treatments, teas and coffees, etc. www.macmillan.org.uk
Macmillan also runs many centres in local hospitals, or privately in members’ homes, etc. If you want to find the nearest to you, go to http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Get_Support/Cancer_support_groups/Search_Results.aspx?c=0
Macmillan Support and Information Centre, Belfast City Hospital, 77-81 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7AB (tel. no. 028 90 699 201)
Maggie’s is a growing network of cancer caring centres throughout the UK offering high-quality, community-based support. Their unique programme of support is designed to empower people to live with, through and beyond cancer. www.maggiescentres.org firstname.lastname@example.org 0300 123 1801
Maggie’s London is the big orange building in the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, on the corner of Fulham Palace Road and Dunster Road (go round to the side to find entrance – and head for the orange cube!) Join an activity – yoga, meditation, tai chi – get some advice or simply drop in for a cup of tea. Anyone affected by cancer is welcome including carers, family and friends. 020 7386 1750
Marie Curie Cancer Care Is one of the most helpful organisations, and also one of the UK’s largest charities, but has managed to keep its focus on why it was founded. Founded in 1948 – the same year as the NHS – it marks its 60th anniversary in 2008. Basically it provides care for terminally ill patients in the community and in their hospices, along with support for their families. However, some centres also provide palliative care for cancer patients, which is now becoming allied with survivorship – so worth asking your local centre is they provide anything for you. Phone 0800 716146 (for a wide range of queries, from asking how to get a Marie Curie Nurse to getting involved in fundraising events or making a donation). www.mariecurie.org.uk – general
The Mulberry Centre sits in the grounds of the West Middlesex Hospital, surrounded by lawns and trees – with lovely gardens to sit out in! Open daily, with late evenings four times a month. They offer complementary and relaxation therapies, counselling, support groups, information library and workshops. It has the Macmillan Quality Mark for excellent care in a support centre. 020 8321 6300 www.thermulberrycentre.co.uk
Northwick Park Macmillan Information Centre As you go in, there is a wide entrance welcoming you to the Macmillan Information Centre, with Helene Buijs and one of her helpful volunteers ready to answer questions. No-one pounces on you, you can walk around on your own, but pretty soon someone comes up and gives you just the right leaflet, and piece of information you are looking for. There is a regular session dealing with Benefits advice, which when I was there was giving excellent support and information. The Centre reminded me of Aladdin’s cave – you just didn’t know what helpful leaflet was going to be found in the well-stocked shelves – but they have an incredible amount of information to offer. It says a lot about the centre – I was told that all the volunteers that had been there when the centre opened, are still working, and very happily. Northwick Park Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow 020 8869 5099 www.nwlh.nhs.uk.
Nottingham Cancer Patients and Carers Support Group hold meetings every 3rd Tuesday in the month, with a guest speaker of event. Typical is their next event on Tues. 21st Sept. on Reflexology. Meetings held in ‘A’ Floor Classroom of School of Nursing at Queens Medical Centre. For more details contact Freda Ingall RGN on 0115 931 3541
Paul D’Auria Cancer Support Centre As they say on their website, not the easiest spelling to remember – but the centre is warm and very welcoming, situated in Battersea, London. If you can’t visit, there is a very caring telephone Helpline; they answer emails from all over Britain, and if you live locally but can’t get out, they have a Home Visit service. Their AGMs are always standing-room only – and food at events is fantastic! The Paul D’Auria Cancer Support Centre, a registered charity, was the first cancer support group to be set up in London in 1983. Since then we have developed many innovations in the cancer support field, including helping to pioneer the use of massage for people with cancer. The Centre has also won two national awards for the quality of its work. 20-22, York Road, Battersea, London SW11 3QS 020 7924-3924 http://www.pauldauriacentre.org.uk
Peterborough Breast Cancer Support Group are a very go-ahead team – join up with them and they have a lovely welcoming attitude. You may be swept up in a pink limousine for Fashion Show, or take part in lots of other activities. They have an extremely sensible and easy-to-read brochure about After Treatment – go to http://www.peterboroughbreastcancersupportgroup.co.uk/aftertreatment.htm
Pinkladies.org.gg are based in Guernsey, and get up to all sorts of fun things! They have a very useful local Contacts list.
Sara Lee Trust based in East Sussex, and offers therapies, acupuncture, massage, etc. You need to be referred by a professional (doctor, Macmillan or other nurse, GP, etc). 25 UpperMaze Hill, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex TH38 OLB 01424-445177 http://www.saraleetrust.org
Shine Cancer is rarer in people under 50 and, although any cancer experience will be difficult, it is easy to feel especially isolated when you can’t find people in similar circumstances to you. Shine is a web-based support centre, running events all over Britain, and some of its happy members are pictured below!
South East Cancer Help Centre is based in Purley, Surrey, and offers a wide range of therapies, group activities (including T’ai Chi on the lawn when fine) and talks. 020 8668-0974 www.sechc.org.uk
St. Mary’s, Paddington Vicky Harmer runs a ‘fun centre’ with lots going on, and the nice thing is – if you have been treated at a London hospital with no centre, you are welcome to come here. Speakers at their events range from Guide dogs for the blind, to dieticians. Phone 020 7886-1425
At last! The NHS realises that they SHOULD do something to help us after we leave hospital. Macmillan already provide the basis for many support centres, but the NHS does not seem to realise how important these can be (e.g. the NHS cancer ‘flagship’ Royal Marsden says they have no need for a centre as patients come from far and wide – but most are from local area, and there is nothing !)
Macmillan are they are now involved in an a Consultation exercise on Living With and After Cancer. More in on http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Get_Support/Living_with_or_beyond_cancer or http://www.improvement.nhs.uk
and newsletter on http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/DH_088879
is celebrating their tenth birthday. They offer therapies such as Aromatherapy and other massages, counselling, Yoga, etc. but also have various groups including a Walking Group. 0120 321 1300 www.suttoncancersupport.co.uk
The Ulster Cancer Foundation 40-44 Eglantine Avenue, Belfast, BT9 6DX (tel. no. 028 9066 3281). Care Services Department with patient information conferences, support group meetings etc. Counselling life-coaching courses, art therapy, creative writing groups, life stories (reminiscence writing) groups, ‘Beauty for Life’ workshops, a mastectomy and headwear fitting service, a family support service, a freephone cancer helpline (tel. no. 0800 783 3339 Monday – Friday, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm) and a patient advocacy group. Patients, carers and their families can contact for more information via helpline or call in to the centre for a chat or to view leaflets and pamphlets.
Velindre Cancer Centre, Velindre Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF14 2TL. Tel: 029 2061 5888
Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre, Sheffield, offers a full range of therapies, counselling, courses on handling cancer, etc. 0114- 2265391 www.cancersupportcentre.co.uk
SUPPORT IN OTHER COUNTRIES
Talking Cancer is a website where patients and carers share their experiences, and offer support and guidance. It seems to be read by Australian nurses (with expert knowledge) as well as the general public. There are a range of discussion forums covering general cancer topics, specific cancers, and support for carers. The forums provide the opportunity to connect with others online, 24 hours a day. The webmaster says they are particularly interested in stories from around the world , especially on ‘after care’. http://www.talkingcancer.com
Canadian Breast Cancer Network – Réseau canadien du cancer du sein 331, rue Cooper Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, ON K2P 0G5 613-230-3044 ext. 222 1-800-685-8820 http://www.cbcn.ca