A new clinic has been set up in a St Annes hospital which is proving invaluable to cancer patients.
The Holistic Needs Assessment clinic has been launched at Clifton Hospital to support anyone who has had a skin cancer diagnosis and may need additional help and advice in the aftermath of what can be very shocking news.
Macmillan Skin Cancer co-ordinator, Michelle Forsyth, who runs the clinic, said: “Once someone has been dealt with a cancer diagnosis, they very often don’t take in much information, so this clinic acts as a safety net.
“I contact the patient and speak to them or their carer to talk through the next steps and explain anything they may not have understood at first. I can also help with other issues such as transport to and from appointments, referrals to other services and practical help such as arranging a falls button. It has gone really well so far and patients are finding their treatment journeys a little easier.”
On receiving a cancer diagnosis, usually only 20% of the information given following this is retained by a patient. Because of this, Michelle contacts the patient by phone, Microsoft Teams or by letter, depending on what technology the patient has access to, and talks through the next steps. The clinic has proved so popular that it is now filled up until the New Year.
One recent carer, Anne, from Cleveleys, finds the service invaluable. She said: “Both my husband and I are 80 years-old and it can be quite an anxious time as I am looking after my husband Tom who has squamous cell carcinoma on his scalp.
“It can be hard to keep track of appointments at different places, especially when you are under emotional pressure, but Michelle helps with any questions and I know she will get back to me and do everything she can to help.
“Michelle knows how emotional it can be in our situation and understands completely. She puts my mind at rest knowing she genuinely cares and that she is always there when I need her.”
Michelle added: “Having this patient-focussed service has really helped so many of our patients and I am really proud that it makes a very difficult time a little easier.”
The helpline number specifically for skin cancer patients is 01253 956219.