Oesophagogastric surgical support group benefits patients

Patients with or recovering from Oesophagogastric cancer (Oesophageal and Stomach cancer) are benefiting from a support group organised by two of our Clinical Cancer Nurse Specialists.

Only around a quarter of patients affected by Oesophagogastric cancer are suitable for curative treatment, which usually involves chemotherapy, radiotherapy and complex surgery, in which part of the oesophogus or stomach is removed. Patients are supported by the Clinical Cancer Nurse Specialists during diagnosis, treatment and are followed up by the team for five years once in remission.

The group runs twice a year and provides support for patients who have had, or are having, curative treatment, as well as relatives and carers. The meetings are organised by Angela Longe and Tamara Taylor, Clinical CNS’ in Upper Gastroenterology, who invite suitable patients and arrange for guest speakers to attend. Guests have included psychologists and dieticians who have given specialist advice for this group of patients.

Angela said: “It’s lovely to see our patients doing so well and see how they can all support one another and talk about their experiences. At our last meeting in March, we had around 80 patients and carers attend. One patient who was waiting for his operation was able to speak to others who’d had theirs either a few weeks ago, or even a few years ago.

“Some of the treatment can be life changing for patients in terms of their quality of life afterwards. Cancer can affect patients’ loved ones too. We offer support to carers and relatives as well as patients so that everyone’s feelings are validated. Some of our surgeons also pop along to catch up with their patients.”

Jo Richardson, Lead Cancer Nurse, added: “The support group offers a fantastic opportunity for patients and carers to talk with one another and share experiences, with access to our very experienced Clinical Nurse Specialists.”

The CNS’ also run a raffle to raise money for future sessions. Anyone who would like to support to group and these patients can contribute to an Amazon.co.uk wish list.

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