I had my 3-month check last week - now 14 months since finishing chemotherapy. My CA125 has been rising steadily in the last 6 months and more recently there has been a dramatic rise. The last CT scans show some small increase in the tumours on the lymph nodes but I feel OK so we agreed we'd wait and watch. That suits me just fine.
I noticed a flyer on a noticeboard in the waiting room advertising courses in Eating for Health for women with Breast and Thyroid Cancer. My weight has increased recently and I'm aware of research that points to weight and fitness levels being linked to length of remission so I mentioned that I'd like an opportunity to join a group. I was told it's a trial, that it might be available to women with other cancers in time and that it was restricted to these two cancers as there had been 'more call' for this service from women with these two cancers. I pointed out that whilst there's an obvious link between thyroid cancer and weight gain there are likely to be more requests from women with breast cancer than ovarian cancer because there are just more of them than us. I must've hit the right note as my oncologist arranged for a personal appointment with the dietician and we spent a half-hour looking at diet and lifestyle. It was incredibly helpful. She gave me her course book and we went through it so I can follow the course at home. She has also organised a 'fit prescription' for me through the Physiotherapy Department. This gives me gym membership for 15 weeks at £1 per week and a personal fitness programme devised by a specialist member of staff who has medical training combined with fitness expertise.
I think a number of us have been crying out for this sort of approach from our oncology units. We've been talking recently about the value of the patient lobby. I thought I'd share this information with you just in case you feel it's something your local oncology unit should be looking into. It does make sense for our NHS trusts to help us achieve a longer and healthier remission.
Please use the example of the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff if you want to lobby your local unit for more holistic therapy.
Good luck! xxxx