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Macmillan GPs, nurses and other health and social care professionals helped over 520,000 people in the UK last year. Here, a Macmillan radiographer, nurse, dietitian and clinical psychologist share their experiences of working with Macmillan Cancer Support.
'Providing them with the answers they need helps to remove unnecessary fears'
'For my part, I call on ten years radiotherapy experience to provide vital support and information for patients and their families attending the radiotherapy department here at the Middlesex Hospital. Being based in the department means I am perfectly placed to keep up to date with all the latest information and advances. My door is always open to people attending treatment sessions.
'I know how much people value our many information services. Providing them with the answers they need helps to remove unnecessary fears and gives people the ability to make informed decisions about their treatment and care.'
'I aim to be present when a person is first told they have cancer'
'My own particular specialist area is lung cancer. Like all Macmillan nurses, I aim to be present when a person is first told they have cancer. From that point on I will be available for as long as I am needed - to give reassurance, support and advice. And most importantly, to listen.
'I know from my weekly clinics that people find it incredibly helpful to share experiences with me and with one another. I am there to ask people what I can do for them. That can mean anything from putting them in touch with a local support and self help group to answering questions on treatment, pain control, diet and keeping fit. And if I don't have the answers they need, I know someone who will. Helping people with cancer to get on with their lives is a real privilege.'
Find out more about Macmillan nurses by watching our video of Helen, a lung cancer specialist in Manchester. Watch Helen's video|.
'The rapport I build with patients is the most rewarding'
Christelle is a Macmillan community dietitian based at University Hospital in Lewisham, and has expert knowledge of the dietary issues faced by people with cancer:
'For a patient who is being treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or even surgery, there is a great need for nutritional input - before as well as after treatment. A lot of these patients don't eat well because of the symptoms they develop. However, there is evidence that if you are in a good nutritional state before you start, you might not develop as many side effects from treatment, and recovery can be quicker. I offer support to their families, too.
'One of the things I find most rewarding is the rapport I build with patients. They're looking for help and support, and when they reach out to you it means you've made a difference to their lives.'
Watch a video of Keynes Chan, Macmillan Oncology dietitian at the Princess Royal NHS Trust in South London. Find out more|.
'The natural reaction is a kind of psychological chaos'
Macmillan clinical psychologist, Mike Osborn, helps patients, families and other health professionals deal with the psychological impact of cancer:
'It's important to help people understand the natural reaction to something as serious as cancer is a kind of psychological chaos - worry, fear, tears - and can involve powerful experiences people have never had before. And if you can help people bring some kind of clarity and coherence to that, you're doing a lot of good really. If you can help people manage the psychological burden they'll be physically and mentally healthier.'
Read our directory of Macmillan social care professionals and services
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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