Lack Of Support For Islands’ Cancer Sufferers Is ‘Eye-Opener’

Advisors at yesterday's Macmillan Cancer Support Event. (L to R) Amanda Nadin and Emma Wright from Macmillan, with Anna Burton, Chair of the Cancer Patient and Carer Group.

Advisors at yesterday’s Macmillan Cancer Support Event. (L to R) Amanda Nadin and Emma Wright from Macmillan, with Anna Burton, Chair of the Cancer Patient and Carer Group.

The lack of support and information for islanders with cancer has been described as an “eye-opener” by the Chair of the Royal Cornwall Hospital Cancer Patient and Carer Group.

Anna Burton attended the Macmillan Cancer Support advice session in Scilly yesterday.

She says locals have told her they haven’t felt supported after diagnosis.

No one seemed to know where to go for help, she said, and it’s “troubling” that people are left on their own after leaving hospital.

Lead GP John Garman told Radio Scilly that they follow up cancer patients proactively at the Health Centre from a medical perspective, but it’s good to know that there will soon be extra support from other people who have been through similar treatment.

Anna says she’s going to push for places where Scilly patients can stay on the mainland. That could be in rooms on-site at Treliske, with a donation made to the hospital, rather than having to go into expensive or unsuitable B&Bs.

She said her group has not communicated as well as it should with Scilly and it’s time to change that. Anna would like to set up a group, allied to the regional Cancer Patient and Carer Group to help sufferers here.

Yesterday, Macmillan advisors outlined grant support, which is available for islanders who need to travel for treatment, whether or not they are earning income.

Emma Wright from Macmillan says her colleagues were surprised that so many locals raised travel and accommodation concerns.

The cost of that is massive, says Emma, who added that she’ll be taking some “strong messages” back to the mainland.

Emma says the relatively short distance from the mainland makes a huge difference to patients and she’s going to look at ways to support them. That could include using Skype to keep in contact.

She says the charity intends hosting similar sessions in the future, and in the meantime, islanders can now pick up advice and information leaflets at the Health Centre and Town Hall.

Emma hopes that the charity can also form a fundraising team on the islands, which could act as a support group too.

Yesterday, event organisers arranged one-to-one sessions with experts who answered a range of questions on treatment and forms of cancer.

Scilly’s WI group provided refreshments for the event and raised £73 for Macmillan.