Experience Works to give Cancer a Clear Voice

Whatever stage you’re at in life, it’s always going to be devastating to find out you have a terminal illness. Not only does it highlight your own mortality, but being told you have an incurable condition also changes the way you approach life. It can be overwhelming, and without the right support can often lead to feelings of angst, fear and isolation.

Cancer is one such illness affecting millions of people globally. Appearing in many forms, such as breast, lung or bowel cancer, it not only affects those diagnosed, but also their families and friends.

The establishment of charities therefore, such as ones specifically designed to help those with cancer, have played a significant role in helping people to understand their condition, how to treat it and how they can still make the most of life. They have also been fundamental in providing emotional support when things become too much.

Individuals nowadays have access to a wealth of information, as well as a huge network of people who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, life with cancer. And, because everyone deals with issues in their own way, it is a great opportunity to learn how others positively cope and what they do to continue living as normally as possible.

Not only that, but fundraising activities and volunteers offering up their time have also helped charities to secure funds for vital research to be conducted, expensive equipment to be purchased and essential care for patients to be offered.

In order to improve the level of service cancer patients receive, a unique concept – cancer voices – was established in the UK in 2001 by cancer patients: it has since been adopted by cancer charities in Australia and New Zealand.

Cancer voices is essentially a network of people who have cancer, those who have recovered from cancer, carers and nurses of cancer patients, and friends or families who have been affected by cancer, through someone they have known.

And, because the people involved have experienced life with cancer, including the treatment and after-care received, they are an authority on whether things like the current cancer policy is effective, or if the environments used to treat patients are conducive to bettering one’s well-being.

Following training, which is provided free of charge, people have a real chance to help influence such things as: how cancer care is delivered; what drugs should be made available to patients; what services can or should be improved; and opinions on the available cancer information.

People are also encouraged to speak out about their experiences, in order to make the public aware of what they can do to help, or how individuals can cope with the illness. Cancer voices, therefore, is an opportunity for people who have been either directly or indirectly affected by cancer to help in the future of policy shaping and research into the disease.

The ultimate result is that people who develop cancer in the future benefit through the provision of better knowledge, services and care.

Isla Campbell writes on a number of topics on behalf of a digital marketing agency and a variety of clients. As such, this article is to be considered a professional piece with business interests in mind.

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