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Help for cancer patients is only a phone call away

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Tuesday 3rd December 2013
Barbara and Terry Potter

A Barnsley couple diagnosed with cancer within two years of each other have a phonecall to thank for their continuing good health.

 

Terry Potter, 78, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, just a year after his wife Barbara, also 78, was treated for skin cancer on her leg.

 

After being discharged from hospital, Terry, of Ashby Court, Barnsley, was enrolled on a new pilot scheme in Barnsley providing people who have had bowel cancer with support over the phone.

 

It is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's care navigation service. The aim is to support patients and help them return to a normal healthy lifestyle.

 

Nurses provide telephone consultations to help ensure patients' health doesn't deteriorate and they remain well after treatment, as well as reducing the need for unnecessarily hospital appointments.

 

One of the nurses operating the telephone support line happened to call and check on Terry the same day he had experienced a bleed.

 

Terry explained what had happened and the nurse was able to get in touch with medical staff at the hospital immediately. Just ten minutes after the call, a trauma nurse phoned Terry and arranged for him to see a consultant the next day.

 

Terry said: "When I had the bleed, we didn't know what to do and I thought I'll just wait and see if it calms down. But then, by pure coincidence it was one of the days when Isobel from the support line rang and she had the nurse on the phone straight away.

 

"I didn't know how serious it was, but she did. Who knows what would have happened if she hadn't called at that moment.

 

"It's such a relief to know someone's on the end of the phone if we need them. We know we can pass our anxieties on to Isobel and that's a big thing."

 

Tom Noel, from Macmillan, said there is always the risk the cancer may return after treatment so it's essential patients are monitored in the following months.

 

"Terry and Barbara's experience shows just how crucial the telephone support service in Barnsley is," said Tom.

 

"If Isobel hadn't called that day, Terry may not have received the medical attention he needed.

 

"The period after treatment can be lonely and disorientating as the patient tries to return to a normal healthy lifestyle.

 

"This service ensures that no one has to face cancer alone but we need the public's help to make sure this support continues in Barnsley."

 

The couple are backing the Macmillan Barnsley Appeal to raise £150,000 which will fund vital cancer services in the borough such as the telephone support line.

 

If you'd like to make a contribution, get involved in fundraising or join our new fundraising group, call Steve Loane on 07801 307045 or e-mail Sloane@macmillan.org.uk.

CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by k sargesson I Fri 6th Dec 2013 at 11:42am

I was diagnose with cancer four years ago and iv had no help from no one that includes macmillan