Your cancer pathway support guide is launched today by the North Central London Cancer Alliance. It is designed to support people as they prepare for diagnostic tests, go through treatment if cancer is diagnosed, and follow up care after treatment.
Needing to have tests for cancer can be a worrying and stressful experience. Most people (around 90%) who go for these tests are not diagnosed with cancer, but it is important that they are completed to rule it out.
If a person is diagnosed with cancer, they might feel overwhelmed with information. There can be a lot of information to absorb during an already difficult time. This guide has been developed to support by:
- Providing information and support at the right time – before, during and after having tests or treatment for cancer.
- Helping to get relevant information and knowing what questions to ask.
- Giving people with cancer the information and confidence to help make shared decisions about their treatment and care.
- Improving signposting to emotional and practical support.
The guide can be used online and notes can be kept on the pages using a unique personal link to access the page whenever it is needed. The guide can also be printed and used as a paper document, with handwritten notes, if preferred.
The content is a series of questions with answers or signposting to information, from the point of being referred for tests right through to follow-up after treatment. The questions range from finding out how much time to set aside to attend appointments, how to talk to friends and family about cancer, and dealing with side effects of cancer treatment.
Dr Afsana Bhuiya, Cancer GP Lead, North Central London Cancer Alliance, said: “In developing the guide, we wanted to provide useful information and signposts for patients as they go through cancer diagnosis and treatment. At a clinical appointment, people often find that they haven’t prepared themselves to ask questions or may not even be sure what they can ask. In talking to patients, we became aware that accessing test results and next steps for treatment were key issues.
“Our guide is designed to help people to think about what they should ask their cancer team and point them to key information, so they have better outcomes and experiences of care.
“We are extremely grateful to the patients, carers and health organisations that have worked with us for almost a year to develop Your cancer pathway support guide. With their expertise we have been able to co-develop a practical tool which we hope will help many people in the future.”
Your cancer pathway support guide has been developed in North Central London. It is intended for use by anyone affected by cancer and healthcare professionals in England.