Every year, more than 3,300 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are told that they have cancer. With a huge increase in these numbers anticipated by 2030, thousands more local people may end up feeling isolated and alone, both while they are receiving treatment and after treatment ends. We have to take action now to make sure we can be there to help solve these issues. The treatment facilities in Cornwall are good, but it is one of only a few counties where there is no one place for people to receive much-need cancer support and information and this is not fair.
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust serves a population of approximately 420,000 from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It is the main provider of specialist healthcare in the area. Each year, nearly 13,000 people are referred to the hospital with a suspected cancer, and there are nearly 22,000 people living with cancer in the county. Most shocking of all is the fact that the incidence of cancer in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is 26% higher than the national average . But there is no formal centre providing support and information for people who are worried about cancer, patients, their families, carers or staff anywhere in Cornwall, one of the only counties in England where this is the case.
In 2010, a survey of cancer patients in Cornwall found that a fifth were confused by the verbal information they were given about their cancer and its treatment, and of those who did understand it, one in four found the language used ‘too medical’
Local people are telling us that the clinical treatment and care they are receiving is good, but that there is just no dedicated facility for the vital support that is also necessary to continue to live well during and after a cancer diagnosis. We plan to change that. By providing support such as further information about the cancer and its treatment, or help with the financial impact of cancer, or assistance with coping with the emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis. But we can only do it with your help.
‘This new centre will make a huge difference to the support we are able to offer people living with and after a cancer diagnosis. At the moment, support is available, but it is not easy to find, and the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been really disadvantaged by the lack of a dedicated centre. To be able to access support all in one place, whether that is information about cancer and its treatment, help with coping with the financial impact of cancer, or support with living life after cancer, will give everyone a much better experience.’ Kathryn Radcliffe, Lead Cancer Nurse, RCHT