Oncology Drs & Nurses should ask cancer patients "how are you coping emotionally?"

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Hallo and thank you for reading this!

I am a Mum of two delightful boys aged 6 and 10 and have had localised breast cancer four times (with recent tests for a potential further recurrence) since 2001.

I am also a Senior Nursing Sister and am following on from the well-publicised campaign "Hello, my name is..." started by an inspirational GP, Dr Kate Grainger. She was a cancer patient who sadly died recently. I feel compelled to ask you to sign my petition to take Kate's successful campaign even further.

Whilst I have had some wonderful care and exactly what I aspire to giving all my patients as a General Practice nurse, the majority of the care I have had over the past 16 years whilst undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a mastectomy and breast reconstruction has very sadly been focused far more on the body than the mind.

I have rarely been asked how I am feeling and coping emotionally and the care has far too often lacked any acknowledgement that cancer has a very big impact on emotions or even that it also impacts on a patient's family including, in my case, my husband and young children.

I am also keen to campaign for a reintroduction of open and easy access to counselling services on the NHS; in my case, despite having several recurrences with an uncertain prognosis on top of my husband's Mum and first wife dying from this in their thirties, my GP in effect forced us to pay for this privately, and denied me access to treatment NICE clearly state should be available on the NHS (which we after all pay for via taxes!)

So the crux of my campaign is that oncology medical staff should not only introduce themselves...."Hallo, my name is....", but also ask cancer patients "How are you coping?" They should also routinely screen for anxiety and depression which wide-spread research show are extremely common for those diagnosed with any life-threatening and life-limiting illness with an uncertain prognosis. Where appropriate patients should then routinely be offered treatment, be it a "talking therapy" and/or medication. This should be the gold standard of care as it can make a huge difference to quality of life and a patient's ability to cope with and endure months of challenging and debilitating treatments and the lengthy recovery period.

Thank you for supporting me; please sign this and forward it to ALL those you know & ask them to sign it (and asking them to then forward it to everyone they know too!) so I can achieve my dream of presenting this campaign to the Cabinet Minister for Health & to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to ensure that every cancer patient is offered emotional support which I believe is vital to well-being. My cancer "journey" was sadly a revelation in that it showed me that the focus is all too often mainly on the body rather than the "mind" too.

Cancer is so frightening and the treatments so arduous. Yet I passionately believe both as a Nurse and a cancer patient since 2001, with holistic treatment, we can make a massive difference to quality of life. If a patient is better able to cope, then their loved ones including small children (in my case) are far more likely to be able to cope too!

Please help me make this "go viral"; by signing this, you could help make a very real difference to patients with an illness that one in three of us will be diagnosed with at some stage.







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