People living with cancer in Suffolk and Essex can access a wide range of local and national resources launched during the pandemic.
Videos from cancer specialists, digital support groups and practical information can now be accessed through a wealth of online resources.
The ESNEFT website has published a wide range of online information, and Ipswich’s John Le Vay Cancer support team has also launched a new website, to offer information and support to anyone who is undergoing treatment, and wishing to access local support and services in East Suffolk. The Colchester cancer information team are currently developing a mirror website for North East Essex.
There is also a dedicated cancer helpline for anyone in Suffolk or Essex who would like to talk one-to-one.
A key part of the information on the websites is the local information and links to local support groups, many of which are having meet ups online to avoid face-to-face contact through Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Louise Smith, Macmillan Cancer information specialist and Macmillan survivorship lead based at the John Le Vay Centre, said: “In an era of a global pandemic when many people are having to shield, having information available that’s easily accessible and relevant to them and their situation is so important.
“Whether you’re newly diagnosed, or you’re talking about palliative care, the websites cover every part of the patient’s journey. There’s an area for those who have been diagnosed – which can be a really scary and frightening time, and a time when you don’t know where to go as you don’t feel part of the system yet.”
Information about disabled parking, where to buy wigs or specialist clothing following surgery, transport or how your travel insurance may be affected are also covered on the sites, which aim to offer a wide range of topics surrounding cancer and how it may impact someone and their family.
Clinicians specialising in cancer care have recorded videos to help explain treatment and to answer frequent questions asked.
David Spirit was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago. Having had support through the team, based at the John Le Vay Centre, once in remission, he decided to volunteer and has been involved in developing their website.
The 61-year-old from Woodbridge said: “The website offers so much for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or their families. There are so many local support groups and having access to those through the site will be really beneficial.
“When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, being able to talk to other individuals about your experience – knowing they understand what you’re going through – is extremely valuable, particularly on the emotional side.”
Morven Angus, Macmillan lead cancer nurse at ESNEFT, added: “There’s a wealth of information here for people. It goes down to the details of which lingerie shops are in the area that supply bras or clothing if you’ve had a mastectomy. That’s why these are such great sites as they offer all the national info, but the local info you really need.”
The ipswichcancerinformation.co.uk website has been developed by the team at the John Le Vay Cancer support and Information Centre in Ipswich and is funded by local charity Art for Cure and backed by ESNEFT. Partnership work on physical activity and cancer has also been done in collaboration with Active Suffolk.
Morven Angus, Macmillan lead cancer nurse at ESNEFT, added: “There’s a wealth of information here for people.
“We listened to feedback from patients and carers. It was important to us that service users were involved at every step of the project, ensuring it contained the information people want and need, including financial information, local support, right down to the details of which lingerie shops are in the area that supply bras or clothing if you’ve had a mastectomy.
“That’s why these are such great sites as they offer all the national info, but the local info you really need.”
ESNEFT website support for cancer patients
- An introduction to ESNEFT cancer services
- ESNEFT advice for new cancer patients
- ESNEFT cancer health and wellbeing advice
John Le Vay
- Ipswich patients can call the ESNEFT Cancer Support Helpline on: 01473 703 008
- Colchester patients can call on: 01206 745 330