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Better Support For Older Cancer Patients In Dorset

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4:03pm 28th March 2013

Older people with cancer can now get better support and care in Dorset.

The advocacy pilot scheme works with volunteers who are over 50 and are also cancer survivors to offer advice to the elderly.

With more than 11,000 people aged over 75 expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the next five years across the county, partners of the project believe a scheme like this is needed to help give vulnerable people the confidence to ensure they get the right treatment.

Kathleen Gillett said: "A cancer diagnosis leaves people shocked and vulnerable, yet the latest research suggests that they need to be confident and assertive to ensure that they get the most appropriate treatment, particularly if they are over 70."

A recent report by the Royal College of Surgeons has warned that elderly people were dying unnecessarily because life-saving surgery was being withheld on the grounds of age.

Graham Willetts is part of the project and was also diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

He told Wessex FM: "The older you are the less likely you are to not only get the treatment you need but to access the information and support which enables you to manage your own difficulties. To have someone who's been throuh the same process, who can talk from the heart about what it feels like to be told you've got cancer is fundamental to the success of this project."

Those who could benefit most from advocacy might be referred by their GPs or by Macmillan Cancer Support, but cancer patients and their families are also welcome to ask directly for support.

Two organisations working closely together are Dorset Advocacy and Help and Care. For more support and advice you can call Dorset Advocacy on 01305 251033 and ask for Jeanette Croft. For Help and Care call 0300 111 3303 and ask to speak to Kathleen Gilletts.

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