I have to say I have received excellent care which I am very grateful for. (Thank you Mr. Hartley for the cutting out and Dr. Maraveyas for the pouring in). I cannot fault the health professionals for what they do in their field, however, there are other ways to be considered when looking at getting the best result for each individual.
At diagnosis, it was really difficult to feel all control being taken away.
As a result of my research I have found an area where I can aim to improve my quality of life, both physically and psychologically. I have found academic research and sources relating to how a healthy lifestyle, following diagnosis and during treatment, can support mainstream cancer treatment. There is a body of evidence suggesting that healthy eating and exercise improves quality of life, and has a measurable effect on cancer outcomes. This is promoted by the third sector, but it seems to me that there is an obvious gap in the services which the NHS are providing for some cancer patients.
During my journey, I have enquired many times and through a number of routes, about advice on how exercise and healthy eating can support my condition. I have encountered a lack of awareness and knowledge.
I found it quite astounding that information on healthy eating in general and specific advice for my condition (or others) was not given and was not easily available. When I asked to see a trained nutritionist I was given the answer that “as I am still eating is not usual practice to refer”. When I went via a different route through my GP I was able to see a nutritionist in the community, but was told that no one in the team was trained to deal with a cancer diet. The same happened when I asked for to see a physiotherapist. I had no joy when I went through the Council’s Active Lifestyle. They were kind enough to provide an appointment, even though they usually only deal with people who are looking to lose weight, and so had no specific advice on what kind of exercise would improve my quality of life.
So I decided that something needs to be done, as helping people to keep well and active is good for both the patient and could ease the pressure on the limited resources of the health system. So I wrote to our Centre and now I am in discussion with the local Head of Oncology to improve services in our area.
I found fellow patients who had the same stumbling blocks as me and also felt the need to do something about it ….. SO here we are doing it. Join the crew!!!
Have you had a similar experience? If so join us – We have the power as patients to tell professionals how we think services should be improved. Sometimes it does not take much and small steps are good, they pave the way.