Today we've launched a major piece of research to find out what local people need most in terms of cancer support.

The results will put the views and experiences of patients, carers and healthcare professionals affected by cancer at the heart of shaping cancer support services in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.

The research is being run in partnership with Bournemouth University. Experts will survey hundreds of people aged between 10 and 100 who have any type of cancer at any stage, families and friends affected by cancer, and major stakeholders including local hospitals, local authorities, other charities and hospices.

Questions will include: What do people affected by cancer worry about or need? What gaps do service providers feel need to be filled? And what do families need in terms of support?

Bournemouth University researchers will analyse the responses to help us build up an accurate picture of need, and ensure we can give the best possible support to local people.

Launching the survey, our Chief Executive Cait Allen said:

As a regional charity we have the flexibility and freedom to tailor our services to our own unique populations, and that's how we've been able to provide very specific and relevant support to people affected by cancer in our local area. We're committed to evolution and innovation, and this new research will help us to develop our services to directly meet local need.

Over 100,000 people are living with cancer in this region. The impact on them and their families is wide-reaching and lasts well beyond the end of treatment. The recently published NHS Long Term plan has a strong focus on diagnosis, meaning more people will be living with cancer and for longer.

As these numbers continue to increase, demand for our services is at its highest level. In light of this changing environment, it's vitally important that the people who benefit from our work, and those who refer people to us help to shape what we provide and how it's delivered. We're approaching our 40th birthday and pride ourselves on being able to respond to the ever-changing cancer environment over our long history.

To have a say on the future of cancer support services in Wessex, click here