I sometimes think survivors are mad! We readily help out with volunteer work and contribute hours to helping prevent others getting cancer, yet when I ask Cancer Research UK how much of their £600 million+ turnover last year went to help survivors, I was told there were no plans to do anything for us. Instead, they kindly said I could keep helping raise funds to prevent cancer. So I feel peeved!
Many of us with cancer now live for at least 10 years after diagnosis, up from a quarter in the 1970s. By 2030, the number of cancer survivors in the UK is predicted to double from two million to four million. So what did the Dept. Health do about our after-care? Said it was going to be taken away from hospitals, who knew how to deal with our problems, and ‘given’ to GPs. My NHS GP at the time proudly told me “I don’t know anything about cancer”; and I’ve just spent 30 mins on the phone explaining to my current GP what is a DEXA Scan, what are its uses and why I need one. I shouldn’t have to do this; a glance at my notes (if the GP understood them) should be more than enough.
With this in mind, a recent report has called for more effective integration between primary and specialist (hospital) care. Evidence from the US has shown that long-term cancer survivors who see both primary care doctors and oncologists are more likely to receive the full complement of care they need.
Jodie Moffat, Cancer Research UK’s head of early diagnosis, said: “This report highlights a fundamental shift in how we think about cancer care”.
So – what about it CRUK and all the other massive cancer charities? I am grateful that I am alive, but now would like to be able to stop ‘fighting’ and be able to consult with someone who understand what happens to us and why survivors have complex care needs. Not to stare in blank incomprehension when we ask for help handling symptoms. Until the ‘big boys’ acknowledge we deserve help, the funds I raise through readers buying skincare, etc. at Amazon on this website is going to smaller, more focussed charities:
- BOB Air Ambulance (currently raising money for this one), then it will be turn of
- Paul’s Cancer Support Centre
- Trinity Hospice looking after many of us with long-term conditions
- Simpal that provides Sim Cards for phones whilst in hospital
They help in small, local ways, and don’t employ CEOs on mega-salaries. They acknowledge we didn’t ask for our long-term problems, but we do need help for many years after treatment.