Last year we asked you to help us shape the future of local cancer support.
With your help, we carried out a large piece of research in partnership with Bournemouth University. The aim of this was to build up a picture of local need by asking people about their perception of cancer support in our region. Questions were designed to find out the opinions of people who have or have had cancer, people who are supporting or have supported someone with cancer, and people who have a job relating to cancer. 

Last December we launched a crisis appeal as a result of increased demand on our services and a reduction in charitable giving. Thanks to your support we raised over £300,000 in eight weeks and we're pleased to share the news that because of people like you, we have a future supporting local people and our services could keep running.

However, we know that we are facing a future of supporting a growing population of people affected by a cancer diagnosis, all with unique emotional and physical needs. Our new strategy is now more important than ever, setting a clear plan to ensure a sustainable future. It will provide an ambitious, innovative solution to this growing demand, to enable us to continue to support all local people affected by cancer in a way that is right for them. It will also ensure we have the resources to match our ambitions through expanding the ways in which we raise funds.

 

 

Sharing the Research
Over 500 respondents shared their views with us. Throughout the findings, the importance of emotional support became clear, and being able to talk to people - for both patients and carers throughout the cancer journey. The research clearly demonstrated that whilst there were common themes, highlighted below, each individual experience is unique and people need personalised care.

 

  • Worry, fear and anxiety were the most common emotions, experienced by over 61% of respondents.  Sadness and depression were experienced by 39% of respondents 

  • One in three people surveyed said cancer had left them feeling isolated and lacking in self-confidence. Respondents commented that they needed opportunities to communicate with other people in similar situations or with someone who could offer emotional support

  • Almost half of the respondents were concerned with eating and appetite during treatment and felt that information on diet and nutrition would be helpful. 39% of respondents felt that support around exercise and activity would be helpful. Over a third of respondents also experienced issues around sex and intimacy and were concerned about keeping up with social commitments.  One in three worried about work and education during treatment, and practical support such as laundry, housework and shopping.

  • The research showed that carers and loved ones had noticeably higher anger and frustration levels in comparison to patients - more than 40% of carers felt these emotions compared to 28% of patients. Over 40% of carers experienced fatigue and exhaustion and 37% had trouble sleeping whilst their loved one was going through treatment.    

 

Our CEO, Cait Allen, says:
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views and stories with us. As a regional charity, we have the freedom and flexibility to tailor our services to our own local populations, and that is how we have been able to provide very specific and relevant support to people living with cancer in our local area. We are committed to evolution and innovation and this new research is directly helping us to develop our services to address local needs.

Over 100,000 people are living with cancer in our 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. We have already seen a 30% increase in demand for our services during 2019. In light of this changing environment, it is vitally important we have a clear vision, direction and a sustainable plan to deliver over the coming years. We appreciate that after our crisis appeal people may have been concerned about the charity’s future so we hope this plan will give clients, supporters and volunteers reassurance.”

 

You can download our new strategy here