I'm a new volunteer at the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre and yesterday, as part of my training to be a Helpline Call Handler, I attended the 'Taste of Bristol Approach' course. This is a half day session, designed to offer prospective users of the Centre an overview of the range of services available and an introduction to the science behind our thinking.
It was a pleasure to meet the eleven other participants, who gave me a real insight into many of the issues they face. Among many important factors, I was particularly struck by the impact of cancer on the partners and carers of people with a diagnosis and by how this group can feel their own needs to be in some sense 'fraudulent' in comparison with the needs of the cancer sufferer themselves. Thankfully, Penny Brohn services are available not only to anyone over the age of 18 with a cancer diagnosis but also to those closest to them. I wanted to underline this fact, in recognition of the many self help techniques that can transform the wellbeing of everyone affected by cancer and not just those who are ill.