Patient Deborah Allwood with daughter and carer Carly Allwood
Clinical staff from the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust joined patients, ex-patients and their families at what has become an annual Cancer Support and Information Day for Patients and Carers Living with Cancer.
The day, organised by the Trust’s Cancer Nurse Specialist Team at the Berkshire Cancer Centre was declared as a great success by those who went. It was sponsored by the Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support and took place at Green Park last Friday.
The free event saw speakers including psychologists and complementary therapists, mixing with patients and carers to talk about strategies and ways for patients and their families to cope with diagnosis, treatment and life after Cancer.
The Trust’s Director of Nursing Caroline Ainslie welcomed people to the event and introduced a range of speakers including Liz Riddle from the Berkshire Cancer Centre’s Out Patients’ Clinic & Macmillan Information Centre who talked about what the Berkshire Cancer Centre can offer.
Powerful speeches from a patient, Deborah Allwood, and her carer, Carly Allwood, shone a spotlight on how people need to be supported and different ways this can be achieved. Carly who cares for her mother, Deborah, explained that she worked full time in a stressful, challenging job, but that caring for her mother on top was emotionally tiring. She wanted to see what support there was in the community for people like her who were carers.
Local GP, Dr Anant Sachdev, outlined what community support can offer, and Dr Colette Selmer, consultant clinical psychologist, talked about how people can cope with anxiety or depression.
A team from Macmillan Cancer’s Rehabilitation, Kate Rawlings and Sue Howse, talked about how physical activity can improve mental state, help with recovery, rehabilitation and how important physical activity is. The day ended with Dr James Gildersleve (Consultant Oncologist) and Mark Foulkes, Lead Cancer Nurse, fielding question and giving answers.
Through the day patients talked about the sense of hope and support that they get from our staff but, sometimes more importantly from each other. Denise Harmsworth, a patient, has four children and eight grandchildren and felt that her own experience of Cancer might be useful to be shared with others in the same position. “You can get hope from listening to other people. I just take one day at a time; just deal with the feelings that arise as they arise.” Her motto is to do the things you want to do. Her next mission is to learn to drive.
Dr James Gildersleve , Consultant Oncologist, commented: “This is the fourth Support and Information Day that I have attended. They are great events and give people the opportunity to ask any question they like about cancer, the treatments, and the care they are likely to receive.
As a clinician with over 22 years of experience caring for people with various cancers, he has one, clear message for people wanting to stay healthy and this is “Do not smoke!
The team is currently compiling feedback on the Day and planning for the 2017 Support and Information Day for Patients and Carers living with Cancer.