A project which offers vital mental health support to cancer patients has secured funding for the next three years
The future of a project which provides vital mental health support to those battling cancer has been secured.
Beatson Cancer Charity has received welcome news that it is has secured a National Lottery award, worth £269,800 from The National Lottery Community Fund, allowing hundreds more patients with cancer to receive life-transforming psychological and emotional support.
The charity is in receipt of its first-ever national lottery award, which guarantees the Living with Uncertainty project for the next three years. The project will widen out and extend the existing Fear of Recurrence programme and introduce new, additional workshops on Living with Uncertainty. Working in partnership with NHS colleagues and Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, the programme will help participants face the challenges of life after cancer treatment.
Distress associated with a cancer diagnosis and its recurrence has a significant impact on many lives in Scotland and for many patients, feel it is more debilitating than the disease itself.
The Fear of Recurrence pilot project first ran in 2017 and focused on breast cancer patients. It has been hugely successful in demonstrating significant results for ladies completing the six-week course. The programme is based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a psychology approach designed to help individuals achieve meaningful behaviour change. Within the programme this approach is used to help cancer patients develop practical and psychological coping techniques for managing the ‘what if’ fears and anxieties that commonly occur after treatment.
Participants are supported to explore their fears and through the development of coping skills and self-management techniques find ways to keep their anxieties at a realistic controlled and manageable level. This stops anxiety taking over their lives and helps build their confidence to focus on living their life fully.
The lottery award will ensure the charity can ensure the continued delivery of the Fear of Recurrence workshops and open them up to all other cancer types. In addition, this award with additional funding from the Sir Hugh Fraser foundation will also allow the charity to develop and deliver a new Living with Uncertainty course targeted at patients who have less predictable prognosis or are living with cancer long term. This will adopt the same ACT approach to help participants cope with their uncertain future.
Former patient and participant, Susan McGoldrick, 56, from Lenzie in East Dunbartonshire completed the recurrence programme only last month following breast cancer diagnosis. She was uplifted from the experience and would like more patients to be better informed and offered access to this programme.
“This has made a huge difference to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined and with the programme only being six weeks long and virtual due to Covid-19 restrictions, I wasn’t sure what I would achieve. But I have to say it has been a revelation and I feel like a brand, new woman. I have learned so much and feel transformed and it has even inspired me to make recent radical changes in my life. I would like to encourage many more patients to attend if they can.”
Martin Cawley, chief executive of Beatson Cancer Charity added, “We are delighted at the award of this very important grant. The medical treatment process for cancer is difficult enough for people to cope with, but when you add the psychological impact on top, it is especially challenging.
“Even when people have successfully been through their treatment programmes there is always an underlying worry that the cancer will reoccur. This project supports people to develop their own coping skills, this in turn strengthens their resilience and recovery even further.
“This grant will help greatly as part of the cancer journey and allow many more patients to become involved over next three years. Everyone at Beatson Cancer Charity is absolutely thrilled and we are here to support. Thank you to the National Lottery players without whom this grant would not be possible.”