“Cancer can leave people feeling alone”
Nobody has to face cancer alone. Macmillan Cancer Support’s Ian Appleyard talks about what help is available to people in Hull.
More than a hundred people a week come and see Ian Appleyard at the Macmillan Cancer Information Centre in Hull. Cancer patients, carers, relatives and friends visit the centre at Castle Hill Hospital. There’s a common theme among them – a feeling of isolation.
“It’s a real problem, says Ian, especially among people who finished their treatment. They go from visiting the hospital perhaps every day but then that regular contact stops and they no longer have that support network of nurses and doctors around them. It can leave people feeling alone.
“It can be overwhelming”
“For people just starting their treatment, there’s so much to try and take in that it can be overwhelming. It’s difficult for people around the patient too, the relatives and friends – they will also have questions and concerns.”
The Information Centre offers advice and support freely. Ian, the information centre manager, is on hand to talk to anyone concerned about cancer. The centre is a gateway to a range of other services, such as specialist Macmillan benefits advice, information booklets and links to support groups.
Ian shares: “when people drop-in, it can be anything from just picking up some leaflets to us sitting down together and working through very complex issues. One example would be Carol and Brian. Brian had just had his first radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer and had earlier in the week found out that the cancer had spread to five locations on the spine. Brian also suffers from Alzheimer’s, meaning he struggles to process and retain information about his illness. This not only makes his journey through treatment more complicated, but also makes it difficult for Carol, who can feel isolated, facing the emotional effects and trying to support Brian alone.
“One of the ways we were able to help was by providing clear and accurate written information for them both, and taking the time to explain what it meant in practice for them. This helped Brian get a clearer picture of what was happening and what to expect, and gave Carol some good ways to explain it again in the future. We were also able to support Carol, by giving her the opportunity to talk things through and share how she was feeling.”