Macmillan Cancer Support is investing £1.1m to help introduce an innovative support programme for Fifers affected by cancer.
The announcement comes ahead of World Cancer Day this Sunday, February 4, to raise awareness and get people talking about cancer across the globe.
Action under the programme, being launched with the Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, will see a vast array of community partners such as housing, voluntary agencies, health, Trusts and financial support agencies, as well as health and social care services, working together to support people with the non-medical concerns that come with a cancer diagnosis.
These can include: fears around how they are going to cope financially, worries around employment or emotional stress for both themselves and the impact the diagnosis will have on their family and friends.
Between 2011 and 2015 there were 11,239 cancers diagnosed in Fife and this number is expected to grow.
While advances in treatment mean that more people than ever are surviving, it also means that people living with cancer are living longer, often with long-term effects of treatment or other health conditions that have a huge impact on health, wellbeing and independence.
When it comes to coping with the non-medical effects of the illness, a recent survey carried out by the People’s Panel on behalf of Macmillan and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership revealed that many people don’t know where to go.
The new partnership initiative will be developed with people, their families as well as health and social care professionals and many others over the coming months to help address this.
Julie Paterson, divisional general manager (Fife Wide), Fife Health and Social Care Partnership said: “From the point of cancer diagnosis, we want to make knowing where to go for practical and emotional support easier. “Working with Macmillan and all our partners across Fife, the aim is to improve the communication and ways of working between local support groups, charities, council services, GPs and many, many others.
“Together we can be much more proactive in helping people deal with their worries such as housing or financial concerns as well as respond to their emotional and wellbeing needs by connecting them with local support services or groups, whatever matters most for each person.
“It is early days but we will keep people informed as the plans for this exciting new approach in Fife develops.”
Macmillan’s head of services in Scotland, Janice Preston, said: “Cancer has a huge impact on every aspect of people’s lives and many patients tell us they don’t know where to turn for help. This new service should make sure everyone in Fife with cancer has someone to call on for help, no matter what they need. We hope this service will transform cancer support in Fife.
“It’s thanks to the continued support from people locally, who fundraise for us and donate so generously, that we are able to fund this vital new service. With their help we are able to make a huge difference to the lives of people affected by cancer in Fife.”