My View: No one should have to face cancer alone

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It’s good to talk, but for many people with cancer it’s not as easy as it seems, as Macmillan Cancer Support has found.

Which is why the charity has designated this to be Cancer Talk Week in a bid to get more people to open up about their concerns, saying ‘it’s ok to talk about cancer.’

It comes in response to the findings of a new survey which revealed that around one in every three people diagnosed with cancer have recently felt lonely or isolated. Worryingly, the findings also suggest they would prefer to bottle up their emotions, with around 88 per cent saying they wouldn’t want to make their feelings someone else’s problem.

The research also revealed that, following on from the Christmas and New Year festivities, January is typically the toughest month for people with cancer.

Fortunately, here in Doncaster we have help on the doorstep in the excellent Living Well Cancer Information Service, which is based at Balby’s St John’s Information and Support Centre.

The team, led by Joanne O’Marr, are supporting the charity’s call to get Doncaster people opening up for Cancer Talk Week.

Jo said that talking about your cancer may feel difficult at times. You may think it’s not worthwhile or you may worry about making someone feel uncomfortable. But putting your fears or concerns into words can help you, and others, make sense of difficult situations and feel more in control.

I wholeheartedly agree with her, because the key point to remember is that sharing your concerns about cancer doesn’t make you a burden. As the saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.

But if you’re unable to, or would prefer not to, talk to family and friends, there are lots of options to make sure you don’t have to face cancer alone.

Additional research has found that around 45 per cent of people with cancer say the emotional effects are the most difficult to cope with, compared to the physical and practical aspects.

Joanne and her team at Balby offer all people affected by cancer a face-to-face appointment at a place of their convenience. These chats help individuals identify areas that they’re struggling with, such as talking to children, emotional effects and financial concerns.

They can also help with advice on healthy lifestyles, treatment side-affects, fatigue, diet, symptom control, plus work and return to work issues.

There is also a counselling service based at St John’s Information and Support Centre that can be accessed when the individual feels they need it. The team can also signpost to other local services and support groups.

Call 01302 796666.