Nobody has to face cancer alone. Macmillan Cancer Support’s Deb Spraggon talks about what help is available to people in Sunderland.
More than a hundred people a week visit the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre in Sunderland. The majority are cancer patients but there are also a large number of carers, relatives and friends who visit the centre at Sunderland Royal Hospital. There’s a common theme among them – a feeling of isolation.
Deb, the centre’s manager, said: “A lot of people find it difficult to talk about a cancer diagnosis or to know what questions to ask and that can make people feel like they’re alone. When people finish treatment, the biggest fear is ‘will it come back?’ – and a feeling of not knowing where to turn now that they no longer have that regular contact with staff at the hospital. Carers, relatives and friends also need support to help them understand what is happening.”
Help is at hand at the centre, which offers information booklets, specialist benefits advice, counselling services, befriending and complementary therapies - such as reflexology and acupuncture. Services are free to everyone. 700 people a month visit the centre, and a visit might be as brief as dropping-in to pick up leaflets to sitting down to discuss complex cases.
“Money is one of the biggest worries for people, said Deb, it’s often the first thing people think about after a cancer diagnosis. How they are going to feed the family, to keep a roof over their heads while they are going through cancer treatment. This is why we provide daily benefits advice sessions from specialist Macmillan advisors.
“It’s another way of reducing any anxiety a patient might have.”
“I don’t think we could help as many people as we do without our volunteers. Some of them have had cancer themselves and take part in a buddying scheme, which might involve taking a newly diagnosed patient on a tour of a chemotherapy clinic and to talk through what to expect. It’s another way of reducing any anxiety a patient might have.
“To help people who live alone, a befriending service supports individuals who are living with cancer in the Sunderland area. The service is free and confidential and offered through visiting at either Sunderland Royal Hospital, community venues or the persons home. Through befriending the service provides an opportunity for the person to receive practical and emotional support.”
The information centre is just one of the many services provided by Macmillan. We’re here with medical, emotional and financial support to anyone affected by cancer.
The Macmillan Cancer Information Centre in Sunderland is open Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm.
For more about Macmillan and the services we offer, call the Macmillan Support Line free on: 0808 808 00 00
or visit www.macmillan.org.uk