As someone who has been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, I am writing to draw the attention of Kilkenny Press readers to a survey of women in a similar position to myself, with the aim of improving the services and supports available.
Supported by Cancer Trials Ireland, the survey is seeking the views of women whose breast cancer has spread, also known as metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer on their cancer journey experiences.
When it comes to a diagnosis of cancer, there can be so many questions, from “how serious is my diagnosis?” to “how do I tell the kids?” Unfortunately, answers to such questions and access to information often isn’t so straightforward. This survey will help determine a range of recommendations to help address these gaps.
The survey covers various topics, from discussions with medical teams to conversations with family and children, from sexuality and fertility issues to financial stresses, from coping with mental health challenges to engaging with palliative care.
I would encourage as many women who find themselves in these circumstances to take part so that we can get as comprehensive a view as possible as to what they have encountered.
Thanks to advances in treatments, we are living longer. We need to ensure that health and psychosocial services are adapting to support us, and to make life that little bit better for those who may follow in our footsteps. The survey is available online at www.cancertrials.ie.
Siobhan Gaynor, Co-chief Investigator Cancer Trials Ireland Patient Consultants’ Committee, RCSI House, 121Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2