15 May 2015
Nicky Du Toit is confident the new system of aftercare works, now that she’s put it to the test. The 54-year old PE teacher from Victoria College, Belfast, underwent surgery for breast cancer in 2013.
At the time, she says she didn’t really think what ‘self-directed aftercare’ would actually mean for her, until she finished her treatment and had her last appointments with her consultant and Clinical Nurse Specialist. ‘I felt reassured having been shown how to check for signs and symptoms, which could indicate my cancer had come back. Particularly, when you realise that the majority of cases of recurrence are first spotted by patients – not picked up during routine review appointments. I think if I’d had to go back for a hospital appointment every six months or so, it would have been a constant worry, or at least a regular reminder of what I’d been through. I wouldn’t have wanted that anticipation and anxiety.’
Nicky went back to work on a phased return and was soon able to resume her active lifestyle. But then she spotted a mark and felt a slight ‘bump’, which didn’t go away:
‘I phoned and went to see my GP straight away and got an appointment to see a consultant within two days. It was nothing but I needed that reassurance. As long as I know that there’s somebody at the end of a phone, who’s going to listen and deal with my concerns quickly, I’m happy. This system of aftercare really works for me and helps me get on with my life.’
If you've had a cancer diagnosis or care for someone who has, call our Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 for advice, information and support.