Category Archives: Cancer charities

Unprecedented demand for cancer helpline

The number of calls from people with cancer facing difficulties at work has shot up over two years — with some employers reported to be breaking the law — a leading cancer charity has revealed.

Macmillan logo

New figures from Macmillan Cancer Support show a 74% increase in calls to its support line on a range of work-related issues such as discrimination and even dismissal, as a result of a cancer diagnosis.

A YouGov poll for the charity reveals that one in five (20%) employees who returned to work after cancer reported facing discriminatory treatment, such as demotion and worryingly more than a fifth (22%) of managers also have concerns about employing someone who has or has had cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support is now expanding its dedicated Work Support Service helpline to meet rising demand — with the charity receiving nearly 3,000 (2,987) calls about work issues this year alone.

It is also warning bosses they are breaking the law if they don’t provide the necessary support, such as reasonable adjustments, to employees with cancer — which is classed as a disability under the Equality Act.

While most of the 1,500 people polled (87%) who were employed when diagnosed with cancer said it was important to continue working after their diagnosis, employers’ ‘misconceptions’ add to the large number of difficulties already facing the 890,000 people of working age with the disease.

For example, more than a third (34%) of managers worry their employee would not stay long in the job and nearly a tenth (8%) fear someone could use their illness as an excuse not to pull their weight at work.

Around one in eight managers have concerns about the impact of the diagnosis on other staff, with some worried it could cause awkwardness (13%) or resentment (12%) among colleagues.

Sadly, the research also found some workers with cancer did experience a lack of understanding of their needs from their employer (9%) and colleagues (8%). Others even lost their jobs (4%) as a result of their diagnosis.

Former web developer Jordan Taylor, 24, from Telford, Shropshire, was diagnosed with testicular cancer earlier this year and said: “Before I was diagnosed my colleagues felt like a family, but as time went on their attitude towards me completely changed.

“When I returned to work after treatment I was called into a meeting by my boss, who said performance was down in my absence and that companies had complained. There was no time to ease back into my role or any mention of reasonable adjustments to help me during recovery.

“Shortly after my return, I was told my whole team was facing redundancy. A few colleagues insinuated that it was my fault, even though I was ill — it was awful and caused me a huge amount of worry.”

Liz Egan, Working Through Cancer Programme Lead at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We know how important it is to many people to work during cancer treatment, or return to employment afterwards, and this is entirely possible with the right support. Unfortunately, however, many bosses have misconceptions about employees with a cancer diagnosis.

“The rise in calls we have experienced to our helpline is staggering and shows just how vital it is that people with cancer have support and advice with their choices around work. We want to be able to support everyone living with cancer who needs us and are reliant on generous donations from the public to provide services like this.”

The charity is also helping thousands of employers through its Macmillan At Work scheme. As well as offering a free toolkit, resources and advice, the charity also offers specialist training sessions for line managers and HR professionals to help them feel equipped and confident supporting staff with cancer who want to stay in work during treatment or return to work after.

Macmillan Cancer Support and its team of trained work support advisors for employees with cancer can be called for free help and support on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday — Friday, 9am-5pm). Information is also available at www.macmillan.org.uk/work.

Prostate Cancer UK calls on UK to step up to cancer challenge

For the first time, more men are dying from prostate cancer each year than women are from breast cancer, making the male disease the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. Prostate Cancer UK is urging the public to ‘March for Men’ this summer to help curb the trend.

Prostate Cancer UKFigures released by Prostate Cancer UK reveal that 11,819 men now die from prostate cancer every year in the UK, compared to 11,442 women dying from breast cancer. It means the male-only disease is now the third most common cancer to die from, after lung and bowel cancer.

Since 1999, the number of women dying from breast cancer has been steadily decreasing, while prostate cancer deaths are still on the rise. During that time, breast cancer has benefited from a screening programme, significant investments in research and more than double the number of published studies compared to ones for prostate cancer.

Despite the alarming figures, the prospects for men with prostate cancer are actually better than ever, with men diagnosed today two-and-a-half times more likely to live for 10 years or more than if they were diagnosed in 1990. Yet due mainly to an increasing and ageing population, the number of men dying from the disease is growing.

Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive, Angela Culhane, said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years. But with half the investment and half the research, it’s not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind.

“The good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we’re confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.”

Prostate Cancer UK believes that around £120 million of research needs to be funded over the next eight years to reverse the trend and achieve their 10-year goal to halve the number of expected prostate cancer deaths by 2026. And the charity is asking the public to help raise the vital funds needed by signing up for one of their March for Men walks this summer.

“Plans to create an accurate test fit for use as part of a nationwide prostate cancer screening programme, as well as developing new treatments for advanced prostate cancer are already well underway. But to achieve these aims, we need to increase our investment in research.

“We’re calling on the nation to sign up to a March for Men this summer to help raise the funds we desperately need to stop prostate cancer being a killer.”

Stand Up To Cancer is back

Stars of stage and screen are joining forces and channelling their inner rebel to launch Stand Up To Cancer 2017, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.

Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer raises money to support game-changing cancer research that will save lives here in the UK.

To mark the campaign’s return and encourage the nation to join the rebellion against cancer, Alan Carr, Davina McCall, Kirstie Allsopp, Scarlett Moffatt and a host of other celebrities have raided their dressing up boxes and transformed into their rebel hero.

Other rebels with a cause include, Aisling Bea, Anita Rani, Ann Widdecombe, David Coulthard, James Morrison, Jamie Laing, Kimberly Wyatt, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Laura Whitmore, Steve Jones and Susan Wokoma.

Davina McCall, who lost her sister to the disease, said: “Getting involved in Stand Up To Cancer is a no-brainer when you think that one in two of us is going to get cancer at some point in our lives. But cancer doesn’t have to be the really scary word that it used to be. Thanks to research, there’s real hope and there are great prospects for the future. It’s something that we can absolutely conquer by raising money and supporting Stand Up To Cancer’s scientists.

“I chose Joan of Arc as my rebel hero because she was French, and I’m half French. She’s the ultimate strong woman. She felt that she had a destiny in her life, and even though it was incredibly dangerous and there were no other women doing what she was doing, she went and she fought. I just think she’s a very strong, incredible role model and in some ways reminds me of Stand Up To Cancer – rebelling against this awful disease by taking a different, bolder route.”

Krishnan Guru-Murthy, presenter of Channel 4 news, added: “I had a little trepidation about dressing up as Jimi Hendrix in case I didn’t do him justice. When I told my eleven-year-old what I was doing he looked at me and said, ‘You’re just so embarrassing’. But it’s for a great cause!”

Rachel Carr, head of Stand Up To Cancer, said: “The UK’s spirit and determination to join forces against cancer has never been stronger. Our scientists are carrying out work that will change what it means to get a cancer diagnosis, speeding up the development of kinder, more effective treatments. We’re making huge progress and this is just the start. We hope that people across the UK will be inspired by our brilliant celebrity supporters to get involved, join the rebellion and stop cancer in its tracks.”

The celebrities’ rebel choices include Billy Idol (Jamie Laing), Cyndi Lauper (Laura Whitmore), Florence Nightingale (Ann Widdecombe), Jimi Hendrix (Krishnan Guru-Murthy), Joan of Arc (Davina McCall), Katniss Everdeen (Scarlett Moffatt), Marlon Brando (Alan Carr), M.I.A (Anita Rani), Princess Leia (Aisling Bea), the Queen (Kirstie Allsopp), Steve McQueen (James Morrison), Thelma and Louise (David Coulthard and Steve Jones), Tina Turner (Susan Wokoma) and Vivienne Westwood (Kimberly Wyatt).

The Stand Up To Cancer campaign will continue throughout September and October and there’s lots of ways that people can get involved. From being a ‘hair raiser’ and waxing or shaving body parts to raise cash, dusting off aprons to create and sell ‘ballsy bakes’, or getting sponsored to take part in ‘Game On’, Stand Up To Cancer’s gaming marathon, there’s more than one way to rebel this autumn.

For more information on Stand Up To Cancer, visit Standuptocancer.org.uk.

Macmillan coffee morning at Laserase Bolton

Laserase Bolton logo

Come for coffee and cake with Laserase Bolton and help raise vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support!

Laserase Bolton, which is in the grounds of the Royal Bolton Hospital, is holding a Macmillan coffee morning on Saturday 20 September, from 11am to 2pm. As well as coffee, tea and cakes, there will be live music, a cake decorating competition, a raffle, stalls, manicures, facials, face painting and consultation drop-in.

The cake decorating competition is open to all, with prizes including specialist skin care and more. The theme of the competition for adults is “friendship” and for children is “bake my face – decorate a cake to look like your favourite celebrity”. All proceeds will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

To find out more about the coffee morning and to enter the cake decorating competition contact Laserase Bolton by email admin@laserase-bolton.co.uk or phone 01204 570900.

When:  Saturday 20 September 2014, 11am – 2pm

Where: Laserase Bolton, Royal Bolton Hospital, Redgate Way, Farnworth BL4 0JL

Tasty way to raise charity dough

Cake lovers are being invited to host a traditional bake sale to raise money for childhood cancer sufferers.

Children With Cancer UK is calling on people to cook up tasty treats throughout May as part of its Bake Club Month.

More than 3,500 youngsters are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. Children With Cancer UK, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, funds research into the causes, prevention and treatment of the disease and works to protect young lives through essential welfare and campaigning programmes, including support for hospices.

The Bake Club is designed to be a fun and simple way to raise money. Organisers hope that everyone from beginner bakers to pastry chefs will get involved in the workplace or in their community to help children with cancer.

For more information or to join the Children With Cancer UK Bake Club, visit http://www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk/bakeclub or call 020 7404 0808. To register, call Kirsty Whipp on 020 7404 0808 or email bakeclub@childrenwithcancer.org.uk.

Prostate Cancer UK funds University of East Anglia research

Researchers from the University of East Anglia are launching a £250,000 project to develop a potential new treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

They have been awarded one of 17 Prostate Cancer UK grants as part of the first wave of funding through the charity’s ambitious new research strategy.

Researchers hope to develop a new way of targeting advanced cancer with chemotherapy so that more men can survive longer.

Chair in cancer genetics Prof Colin Cooper and honorary senior lecturer Dr Dmitry Pshezhetskiy, both from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, are leading the research team.

Prof Cooper said: “The chemotherapy drug docetaxel is one of the last options available to men with advanced prostate cancer, but unfortunately it often stops being effective after only a few months.

“We hope that, with this generous grant from Prostate Cancer UK, we can develop a new way to target the chemotherapy to the cancer cells and deliver a more effective treatment so that more men can survive longer in the future.”

As part of its MANifesto, Prostate Cancer UK has pledged to find answers to some of the most important research challenges facing the disease today. The charity is injecting £11 million into research this year to focus on the key areas of understanding risk, improving diagnosis of the disease and improving treatment options for men living with it.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Due to a long legacy of underfunding and neglect we still know shockingly little about why prostate cancer kills 10,000 men every year. Prostate Cancer UK has vowed to scale up its mission to deliver so much more and so much better for men. By funding ground breaking projects such as this with the UK’s top research scientists we hope to be able to find the answers we so desperately need for the future.

“Thanks to the support of the Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK has recently tripled its research spend to up to £25 million over the next three years. While this provides a fantastic launch pad, we desperately need more money to crack this disease once and for all. Through our recently launched Sledgehammer Fund we are calling on everyone across the country to get behind men and help us in this mission. Together we can, and will, beat prostate cancer.”

The grants were awarded via a competitive process, and were subject to detailed assessment from external peer reviewers and the Prostate Cancer UK Research Advisory Committee. All 17 of the projects which are to receive funding were chosen because of their extremely high quality and relevance to men with prostate cancer.

A quarter of cancer patients face isolation

Amost one in four (23%) of the 325,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients in the UK – an estimated 70,000 patients each year – lack support from family and friends during their treatment and recovery, according to new research published by Macmillan Cancer Support. And a third of those (7%) – an estimated 20,000 people each year – will receive no help whatsoever, facing cancer completely alone.

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A quarter of cancer patients face isolation each year

The Facing the Fight Alone report – which looks at the number, profile and experiences of isolated people living

with cancer – found more than half (53%) of health professionals have had patients

opt not to have treatment at all due to a lack of support at home from family and friends3. Nine in ten (89%) health professionals felt that a lack of support at home leads to a poorer quality of life for patients, whilst over half felt that it can lead to poorer treatment decisions (54%) and a shorter life expectancy (56%).

The detrimental effects of isolation on the lives of people living with cancer are far-reaching. More than half (53%) of isolated patients have skipped meals or not eaten properly due to a lack of support at home. More than one in four (27%) have not been able to wash themselves properly, while three in five (60%) have been unable to do household chores.

Isolation also makes it harder for cancer patients to self-manage their medical care. Over one in ten (11%) have missed appointments to hospital or their GP, while one in six (18%) have been unable to pick up prescriptions for their medication.

Family members and friends living too far away, having other commitments or patients just having no-one to turn to are the most common reasons patients lack support. Other than a visit from a health professional, one in eight (12%) of people living with cancer surveyed haven’t had a single visit from friends or family in over six months.

For some, isolation seems to be a direct result of their cancer diagnosis. Over one in six (18%) have lost touch with family or friends because of their diagnosis, while four in five (80%) say the financial impact of cancer means they can’t afford to see their family or friends as much.

Lis Blyth, 66, Surrey, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, says:

‘Living alone, I didn’t have the energy to do anything during my radiotherapy, so I just lived on readymade meals. There were days when I went to bed having had nothing more than a glass of milk and a biscuit because I was too exhausted to cook. That was four years ago, but even now, due to the long term side effects of the treatment, I’m often still too exhausted to get on a bus and shop for food.

‘With the exception of the doctor who diagnosed me, none of the hospital staff ever asked how I was or if I could support myself at home.’

Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

‘This research shows that isolation can have a truly shattering impact on people living with cancer. Patients are going hungry, missing medical appointments and even deciding to reject treatment altogether which could be putting their lives at risk — all because of a lack of support.

‘But these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. As the number of people living with cancer is set to double from two to four million by 2030, isolation will become an increasing problem and we need to address this now. That’s why we are launching a new campaign to help tackle this crisis and to ensure that in future, no-one faces cancer alone.’

Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on health professionals to adopt the recommendations in the Facing the Fight Alone report.

To read the report, or to find out more about the Not Alone campaign, visit http://www.macmillan.org.uk/notalone

For cancer support every step of the way call Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk