Management of the Consequences of Cancer and its Treatment in Primary Care
Times are changing. Cancer is changing. The number of people surviving 10 years or over past their original cancer diagnosis is accelerating. However, the quality of life (QoL) of these patients/survivors is far from a life of ease; as it is during this time that patients can face the unfortunate consequences of their cancer and their treatment. These consequences are often overlooked and can have a significantly negative impact on the well-being of the individual.
My name is Sabrina, and I am a Research Scientist at Future Genetics.
Last week, I attended one of the key NHS Primary Care conferences, which was held at the National Exhibition Center.
I attended several interesting talks, and there was one that stood out in particular.
NAPC Annual Conference 2018
Dr Anthony Cunliffe, a Macmillan National Lead GP Adviser, spoke at the NAPC Annual Conference 2018 last week regarding the ‘Management of the consequences of cancer and its treatment in Primary Care’. He began by telling the audience about his late mother’s cancer journey; including the screening, diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and follow up treatment. Although his mother managed to beat both breast and bowel cancer, the life she led following her treatment was extremely poor.She was offered limited support and the GP was not fully aware of how the cancer, despite being gone, was still affecting her life.
Quality of Life
Raising awareness of the importance and the extent of these consequences of cancer can have a great impact on the understanding and care provided by primary care teams and consequently the QoL of cancer patients/survivors.
For this to happen, primary care teams must consider not only the physical needs of the patient, such as managing unwanted side effects, co-existing conditions or risk of recurrence. They should also consider the practical and personal needs, such as; mobility, cooking and personal care.
Presently, these needs are often unmet due to several reasons, for example; lack of clear communication between primary care and patients or limited knowledge or confidence in identifying and managing the consequences of cancer/treatment.
Time for change
Patients deserve to have a decent QoL and just as with any other condition, a better understanding is a step forward towards more effective care.
At Future Genetics we are focusing on a number of key disease areas, including cancer, given the devastating consequences of these illnesses.
Pictured: Sabrina Bolia (Future Genetics Research Scientist) at the NAPC Annual Conference 2018