Cancer support groups a success at QEH

A series of support groups at a Norfolk hospital are helping patients feel they are not alone.

They have been set up a the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn specifically for people with the condition and their loved ones.

Over twenty attend the Grab A Cuppa group which encourages those taking part to ask

Denise Marke, 71 from King’s Lynn, has ovarian cancer and has been attending the group for a few months.

She said: “This is a wonderful group. It helps to talk and to not keep it in.  It is nice to speak to people that really understand, my husband says that I seem happier when I come back from the group.”

Valerie Balcomb, from Downham Market, was diagnosed with cancer following a routine mammogram and has been cancer free for a year. The 64-year-old has been attending the support group for about six months. Valerie said: “This a place of positive thinking and we are all comfortable asking each other questions. It is something to look forward to each month.”

Gill Hurcomb, who has been a volunteer at the QEH for more than 15 years and is herself a cancer survivor, runs these sessions and can often be found putting the kettle on, providing a listening ear and encouraging conversations.

Vicky Mitchell, patient information and support manager, said: “We know how important these groups are to our patients. We see them form relationships, speak to each other about worries and often share advice.”

Some of the cancer support groups which currently take place include;

Grab a cuppa – first Thursday of each month from 10am – 11.30am

Head and neck cancer support group – second Thursday of the month between 2pm -3.30pm

Lung cancer support group – last Monday of the month from 2pm to 3pm

Eastern European cancer support group – last Thursday of the month from 6pm – 7.30pm

Upper GI (Gastrointestinal) Nutrition support group – last Friday of the month from 2.30pm – 4.00pm

Out of hours support group – last Monday of the month 5.30pm – 6.30pm from September

A new support group is soon to be added to the list – beginning next month. The Armed Forces Community ‘Keep-Calm and Brew-Up’ support group will host its inaugural session on 14 September between 10am and 11.30am. The group will then take place on the second Thursday of the month.

Jacqui Wilson, voluntary services co-ordinator at QEH, in collaboration with Cancer Care Services, has set up the Armed Forces cancer support group. She is herself a veteran, spouse of a serving soldier and has experienced cancer. Jacqui said; “I know from experience how private those who have worked in the Armed Forces tend to be when it comes to illness and especially cancer. I thought it was important to set up this support group for not only those with cancer, but for their friends and family to be able to spend time with others that understand how they think and feel.

“Please join us for our first session where we will be joined by others who have an Armed Forces affiliation and has experienced cancer whether it be them personally or their loved ones.”

If you would like to speak to someone about attending a support group at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, please call 01553 613985.