To mark #WorldCancerDay 2018, we have launched our brand new UK wide online information directory: www.cancercaremap.org.
The project has been under development for over two years and is the ‘brain child’ of Broadcaster and Chair of Dimbleby Cancer Care Jonathan Dimbleby. Jonathan explains: “The original idea for a map of cancer care services came to me through personal experience. Dimbleby Cancer Care, the charity run by my family, was founded on gifts of money sent to us by thousands of members of the public in memory of my father, Richard, who died of lung cancer at the height of his broadcasting career. Since then, I have been carer to another loved one with cancer. As a professional communicator, I thought I knew my way around information, as well as the right questions to ask to find out where to access the support I needed once we were back home from hospital. I swiftly discovered that I didn’t, and I couldn’t. I was lost in anxiety and frustration. Sometime later, a friend rang me to ask for my advice. He was having a very similar experience. He wanted to know where to turn for help with an ailing relative, but couldn’t see where to go.
It suddenly hit me that my experience is not unique and that, like my friend, there must be very many people in the same predicament. The NHS took care of the clinical treatment. But we were struggling to bolster our loved ones through it, and keep ourselves going â€“ which is where non-clinical support is so critical. As a trustee of a charity that is a provider of non-clinical cancer care, I know there are very many organisations doing this: but there was no way I could find to gather all that information without spending hours, even days, looking for it. There had to be a solution. Could we at Dimbleby Cancer Care build our own nationwide directory of non-clinical cancer care services that would be both authoritative and easy to access?”.
Two years later the site is now live. We’ve worked very closely with patients and GPs and are really grateful to everyone who has been involved so far. As well as listing services the website features short films from real people explaining how things like massage and counselling have really helped them.
We already have over 150 organisations listed across the country and have been out to meet a few of the fantastic people offering help to people during and beyond their cancer treatment. You’ll be able to see our ‘Cancer Care Postcards’ from Newcastle, Liverpool, Cambridge, Milton Keynes and London on the website throughout the next week.
But we know there are 100s more organisations out there that we don’t yet have on our map. That’s where you come in: we need services to let us know what they are doing, and we need people who are using these support services to tell us about them.
To find out more, go to www.cancercaremap.org.