Charity funds new programme to support cancer patients

Our oncology dieticians and Big C have launched a new programme to help individuals living with cancer.

The cancer charity has been awarded a national NHS Charities Grant, supported by the N&N Hospitals Charity, to fund the ‘Nourish & Nurture’ Intervention.

Big C’s grant of £49,752 will be used to pilot a 12 week patient-centred nutrition and wellness intervention programme for individuals living with cancer, aimed at educational lifestyle, behavioural change and psychological support.

The ‘Nourish & Nurture’ programme focuses on well-rounded, evidence based, holistic care, including education on healthy eating, weight management and ‘mood and food’, plus health walks for mental and physical wellbeing, 1:1 psychological support, cancer support groups, wellbeing complementary therapies and food and nutrition myth busting sessions.

The team at Big C will work closely with oncology dieticians from our Trust.

Dr Melanie Pascale, Director of Charitable Operations at Big C, said: “We are thrilled to receive this important grant so that we can embark on this innovative nutrition and wellness intervention. I believe this will be the first complete 360 holistic care package for patients following a cancer diagnosis, designed to complement and run alongside their clinical care. Small group sessions will enhance empathetic peer support, facilitated by experienced cancer specialist nurses, dieticians, nutritionists and physical activity coaches. A healthy and well-balanced diet that provides adequate nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Correct nutrition provides patients with the ability to recover between cancer treatments and as a result, has the potential to improve their clinical outcomes and quality of life.”

Up to 80% of patients diagnosed with cancer could benefit from this type of intervention, improving quality of life and clinical outcomes with less pausing of essential treatment due to the uncontrolled side effects. The programme also aims to support the NHS by reducing the risk of infections and lessen severe side effects resulting in re-admission. Some of the many aims and benefits of this intervention will be to identify, prevent or reverse dietary deficiencies, preserve lean body mass, help patients better tolerate treatments, maintain strength and minimise treatment related side effects and protect immune function decreasing the risk of infection.

John Paul Garside, Director of the N&N Hospitals Charity, said, “We are delighted to be supporting this important work to help the vulnerable communities in Norfolk and Waveney.  Our hospitals have seen at first hand the devastation that the pandemic has brought to people’s health and we want to do everything we can to support the recovery.”