Beth, 43, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had no family history and was otherwise fit and healthy so the diagnosis came as a huge shock to her and her family.
“I put the changes in my breasts down to my age, as did my GP and even my radiographer. I felt confident and had no previous history of breast cancer. I’d run 10k the previous day, how could I possibly be ill?”
For Beth, she felt as though cancer had blown her life apart. To be told that she had one of the most aggressive types of cancer at a time when she was just about to start her dream job and had just become an aunt, as well as mother to a young daughter, was overwhelming.
Beth had the support of her family following her diagnosis, who helped her to find out more information about the type of cancer that she had and where she could find specialist help for her treatment.
The pandemic set in during Beth’s treatment, which caused anxiety and panic, as she worried about her health outcomes. She was fortunate enough to receive care and advice during this time that ensured that she could continue to receive her treatment.
A friend recommended Cancer Support UK’s Cancer Coach programme, which Beth found extremely useful. The programme provides a toolkit of strategies for coping with life after cancer treatment, as well as the opportunity to connect with others in a similar position. She added:
“It’s impossible to understand adapting back to life post-treatment unless you’ve been through it. Physically, emotionally, mentally, cancer changes you beyond measure. And when treatment ends, you have a whole new person and a world to navigate. As a group, we have continued to stay in touch. We have an incredible bond and know that we have each other for ongoing support.”
Cancer Coach support groups are run by Cancer Support UK for people who have finished their cancer treatment and need someone to speak to. The groups are split into weekly sessions over 6 weeks and are carried out free of charge by telephone or over a video call. Each group is facilitated by a trained Cancer Coach who leads the group, offers support and structures the conversation.
Cancer Coach is for anyone over the age of 18 who has completed treatment for cancer, regardless of whether they finished treatment a few months ago or a few years ago. To participate in a Cancer Coach support group, apply to join here.