Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

“My cancer treatment” website launched for England

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Have you ever wanted to find and compare NHS cancer services in your area?

If so, My Cancer Treatment is a great place to start.  Simply type a postcode, cancer type or hospital into the Find Your Treatment search box.

My Cancer Treatment finds services near you and reports on the quality and standards you can expect from each one.  You can compare results and use these to decide where  to have cancer treatment. Advocates will also be able to use the website to gather information. They will then be able to share that information with the older person affected by cancer they’re supporting to help them make decisions about their treatment and care.

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The information on My Cancer Treatment is collected independently by an NHS quality assurance team, the National Peer Review Programme hosted by NHS England. This programme has nationally assessed NHS cancer services in England since 2001.
Now these assessments are easily available for all patients and the public to access, on an easy to use website. Whether you are newly diagnosed, seeking a second opinion or trying to find some information for someone else, My Cancer Treatment can help.

The key objectives of the National Peer Review Programme focus on improving care for people with cancer and their families by:

  • Ensuring cancer services are as safe as possible
  • Improving the quality and effectiveness of care for cancer patients
  • Improving the patient and carer experience
  • Providing development and learning for all involved
  • Identifying local examples of good practice and encouraging their use nationally, so everyone can have access to the same quality of treatment

The website has been developed with full involvement from a group of cancer patients, to ensure that the tool is easy to use and helpful. Julie Wolfarth and Sian Hallewell, two patient representatives who were involved in the development of the website.

When asked how they think My Cancer Treatment can help, Sian responded; ‘It empowers people, because information is power and sometimes when you receive that diagnosis it’s too hard to go and find this information, if you already know it’s there, then you are one step ahead aren’t you.’

What advice would you give someone who has received a referral and gone onto My Cancer Treatment and is concerned about what they have read?

Julie says ‘sit down with your GP, discuss what you’ve been looking at and say I would like to consider this hospital and this hospital. GP’s would generally refer to hospitals close to where their practise is because that is the traditional route. In a way it’s up to us, as patients and carers to make sure that the treatment we are being offered, is the treatment we are happy to have’. 

Sian also commented that ‘There is nothing to stop you asking the team you’ve been referred to those difficult questions. I would write them down before you go and take someone with you so perhaps they can ask those difficult questions’.

Affected by cancer? Want to make a difference to cancer services?

My Cancer Treatment is looking for new patient and carer representatives to join their team and review NHS cancer services in England. Places are limited and applications close 1st September 2014. Click here to find out how to get involved.

Marie McWilliams, OPAAL

 

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Author: Marie McWilliams

OPAAL's National Development Officer

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