7 January 2015
Macmillan Cancer Support’s first Thyroid Cancer Information Nurse Specialist has this week started work on the charity’s national support line.
Geraldine Hamilton, who has decades of experience as an nurse in oncology, palliative care and research, has taken up the role to meet the specific challenges that people affected by thyroid cancer face, such as a lack of information or availability of a support network.
Geraldine will be based in Glasgow and will be available on the charity’s support line to give information and support to people affected by thyroid cancer, including the friends and family of those living with the disease, across the UK.
The Macmillan Support Line is staffed by 30 nurses and in 2013 responded to nearly 150,000 calls from people who are affected by all types of cancer.
Thyroid cancer affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck. The most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling in the neck. Around 2,700 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year in the UK. The outlook for the most common types of thyroid cancer is very good, with 92% surviving a year after diagnosis and 89% surviving for 5 years– but people who have thyroid cancer will have checkups for the rest of their life, meaning people affected may need support long after their treatment finishes.
Geraldine Hamilton, Macmillan Thyroid Information Nurse Specialist, said:
“Thyroid cancer is a relatively rare cancer, compared to other forms of the disease, so those diagnosed often don’t get the information and support they badly need. It is really important that people affected by thyroid cancer get accurate information about the effects of treatment, as well as coping with life after they have been treated and even after they’ve been given the all-clear. I am thrilled to have started a vital role that is new for both me and Macmillan Cancer Support.”
John Newlands, Senior Cancer Information Nurse Specialist at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“Geraldine’s new role will provide much needed support to people living with and beyond thyroid cancer as we have found that people can often feel isolated due to the rarity of the cancer. Geraldine is here to make sure that no one faces thyroid cancer alone.”
The Macmillan support line can be reached at 0808 808 00 00.
For more information on thyroid cancer, please visit:
For further information, please contact:
Patrick Pringle, Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support>
0207 840 4891 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
1. One-year and five-year net survival. Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Survival in England: Adults Diagnosed, 2008 to 2012, followed up to 2013
2. Incidence in the UK in 2011. Cancer Research UK.
About thyroid cancer and treatment
Thyroid cancer affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck. The most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling in the neck. It is most common in the 35 to 39 age group and the over 70’s. Women are two to three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men, although it is unclear why this happens. The main treatments for thyroid cancer are surgery to remove some or all of the thyroid gland, and a type of radiotherapy that destroys remaining cancer cells and prevents the cancer returning. After treatment most people will need to take thyroid hormone replacement tablets for the rest of their life. Thyroid hormones control metabolism, so feeling tired and lethargic after treatment can be a problem until the correct balance is reached for each individual.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk