Living with and beyond cancer

There are 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK and this is projected to increase to 4 million by 2030.  One in three cancer survivors experience moderate to severe unmet needs at the end of their treatment and for 60%, these needs have not improved six months after treatment.

In south east London, we aim to make sure that people living with cancer, and their families, friends and carers, have access to the right treatment, care and support.

Across London, there is a clear approach to implementing the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative interventions and stratified follow-up for breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

We are prioritising follow-up for breast cancer and are introducing the Macmillan ‘Recovery Package’ – four interventions which, when delivered together, can greatly improve outcomes for people living with and beyond cancer. 

The Recovery Package includes:

-  A holistic needs assessment and care planning;

-  A treatment summary completed at the end of each acute treatment phase and sent to the patient and GP

-  A cancer care review completed by the GP or practice nurse to discuss the patient’s needs within six months of the GP practice being notified of a cancer diagnosis (this is the start of an ongoing conversation throughout the patient’s care)

-  An education and support event, such as a health and wellbeing event, to prepare people for managing more of their own care, as well as offer advice on healthy lifestyles and physical activity.

We are going to provide more education for primary and secondary care staff to ensure we have appropriately trained, skilled and qualified people in different health settings, who have the knowledge to support cancer survivors with their ongoing needs.

We aim to improve patient education, so that patients can understand and manage their health better, including knowing when they need to see their GP and what to do in the event of recurrence.

A network of health and well-being events will be set up across London to deliver cost-effective, accessible centres for advice and support.

We aim to offer greater access to physical and psychological health support for people who experience the unwanted consequences of cancer treatment.

Improving access to social care services will help people live more independently and reviewing rehabilitation will help people recover better from their treatment and improve their overall experience.

We also want to link patients with the best services to meet their needs, such as specialist services (for conditions like lymphoedema and pelvic radiation disease) and generalist services (sexual dysfunction, psychological support, chronic fatigue, pain and sleep management). This will ensure that patients know who to contact when they need support, and that they get support earlier.