Wednesday 24th June 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2015
These new resources from Macmillan can help you raise sensitive issues and empower the people you support
It’s thought that around 150,000 people are currently experiencing urinary problems, such as incontinence, after having cancer treatment. Meanwhile an estimated 90,000 people have gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhoea and bleeding, after their cancer treatment.
As you’ll know, these complications can be incredibly debilitating and hugely affect quality of life. Some people may also find it difficult or embarrassing to talk about them.
Making a difference
We’ve created some new resources to help you support people who are facing these issues. One is a symptom checklist for people who’ve had pelvic radiotherapy, which raises awareness about symptoms and when to seek professional help.
The checklist comes with a wallet-sized toilet card and key ring, both designed to be carried easily. They can be used to help people access toilets when out and about. They explain that the person may need to use a toilet urgently because of cancer treatment.
The card and key ring are also available with a generic leaflet for anyone affected by bowel and bladder problems during or after treatment. Both leaflets also promote the RADAR key for access to disabled toilets.
Giving people confidence to leave the house
Carrying a card enabling quick access to toilets without needing to explain why, can stop someone feeling housebound following treatment for cancer.
Jean, who had pelvic radiotherapy and suffered from late effects, says: ‘I know some people who didn’t want to leave the house because they were so afraid of having an accident.’
With these new resources, we aim to help people living with cancer to take back control of their lives.
To order the toilet card and symptom checklist visit be.macmillan.org.uk/cot
1. Based on data reviewed as part of: Macmillan Cancer Support, Throwing light on the consequences of cancer and its treatment, 2013; Department of Health, Quality of Life of Cancer Survivors in England, 2012; and UK cancer prevalence data.
2. Estimate based on data reviewed as part of Throwing light on the consequences of cancer and its treatment; Andreyev HJN, Davidson SE et al. Practice guidance on the management of acute and chronic gastrointestinal problems arising as a result of treatment of cancer. Gut. 2012. 61:179-192; and UK cancer prevalence data.