Through advocacy we are supporting people affected by side effects of medication to see what can be done to manage and, where possible, reduce them.
The side effects of Tamoxifen were the subject of a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour earlier this month. New research from Breast Cancer Campaign has shown that women who give up taking the breast cancer drug because of the side effects may be at risk. The very nature of the side effects themselves can be a barrier to getting help with them and sharing feelings about them with a trusted volunteer advocate could be the first step towards managing them better.
Dr Daniel Rea, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, suggested on the programme that since the side effects can be embarrassing for women ‘the person they can talk to with more time is the Clinical Nurse Specialist who is skilled at drilling down and understanding exactly what the patient is going through, and can act as an intemediary between the doctor and the patient to make sure that we’ve listened properly, have heard the message and then try to address it’.
Describing the how breast cancer treatment can be followed by years of medication Baroness Delyth Morgan Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Campaign said ‘the hope for many in the cancer community is that in the future more cancers will be able to have this sort of chronic management but it means that the support has to be in there to help people deal with the day to day living with it’.