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"Feelings of loneliness can change into the sharing of concerns."

Macmillan Skin Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Rachel Alexander has seen first hand how a cancer diagnosis can leave patients feeling alone and isolated, at a time when they need their family and friends the most. She says:

"A lot of the patients I see with high risk skin cancer, like malignant melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, have similar issues and concerns. They are scared that their cancer may return, and fear for the future. This can be difficult to discuss with family and friends, who may not understand that skin cancer can have the same associated risk factors as other cancers. It’s not simply a case of having it removed and that’s the end of it.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander

"I was able to listen to her concerns"

One patient, Sarah*, shared with me the anger she felt towards her colleague who said "the cancer has been removed, why are you still worried?" She implied skin cancer is not a serious cancer, but as we know it can be. Sarah was very upset and it left her feeling alone and isolated. She came to talk with me and I was able to listen to her concerns and she thanked me for being there. Patients really do need a person who has a clear understanding of their concerns. That’s why it’s great Macmillan is there every step of the way. I am really proud of being a Macmillan professional, being there for patients, alongside the support my hospital trust. *name changed

We set up a Skin Cancer Support Group in Ipswich Hospital. The group offers a supportive environment allowing time to talk with others who have been affected by skin cancer. This creates an environment for the person who may initially be feeling isolated with their diagnosis, to feel free to contribute to discussion and express feelings, and the feelings of loneliness can change into the sharing of concerns.

"She thanked me for being there"

We’ve been running the group for over a year now, every other month on Tuesday evenings. I encourage the patients I see in clinic to come along if I feel they may benefit from some extra friendly support. It really does give patients an opportunity to talk about their concerns and worries. Partners or family members are welcome to come along to these meetings to gain an understanding of how their loved one feels."

Vital Information

 

 

Your local Macmillan team.

For more information on cancer support groups in Suffolk contact
Louise McAvoy, Macmillan Involvement Coordinator on
07713 084 790 or lmcavoy@macmillan.org.uk

We are working in partnership to provide the John Le Vay Cancer
Information Centre
, Woolverstone Wing, Ipswich Hospital, Heath
Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 5PD
Tel: 01473 715 748
Open Mon-Fri, 8.30am-4.30pm.

For more information about Macmillan and the services we
offer, call the Macmillan Support Line free on

0808 808 00 00

or visit
www.macmillan.org.uk

 

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