29 May 2015
75-year-old Roy McCullough from Derry was diagnosed with prostate cancer 12 years ago. He is one of the many people in Northern Ireland now living with cancer as a long term condition.
Back in 2002, he had to travel to Belfast for two months of intensive treatment, after which he says he felt 'abandoned'. He says cancer care and aftercare has been transformed over the past few years and patients now have more and more support to get back into their normal routine:
‘Consultant oncologists aren’t available at the drop of a hat. You may only see them once a year.
‘The rest of the time I know now that, if I have any concerns, I can phone my Clinical Nurse Specialist and she’ll talk things through or get things rolling.
‘I don’t want anyone thinking I’m on the phone all the time but knowing there’s an expert there to talk to is what’s important.’
Roy believes the role of Clinical Nurse Specialists is key to the success of the new system of aftercare and has joined a local support group for men going through treatment and living with prostate cancer.