A support group in Wakefield is providing a haven for patients with lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The Lung Cancer Support Group, which is run at Wakefield Hospice by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, was set up in 2012 following guidance from the National Cancer Peer Review (NCPR).
Jill Kenworthy, Lead Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist, who played a key part in setting up the group, said: “When you are given a devastating diagnosis it can often be hard to talk to your family and friends about everything, from how you are feeling to your wishes for the future.
“Coming together in this way helps people to share their own experiences, worries and milestones with people who truly understand how they feel. Hearing how someone has tackled a difficult conversation with a family member, for example, can often provide others with the courage and confidence to do the same.”
Specialist nurses from the Trust were trained through the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in how to set up a successful support group and the group regularly welcomes speakers to the meeting to provide information on a variety of subjects from alternative therapies to making a will.
Graham Makin from Wrenthorpe and his wife Laraine have both found the regular meetings of the group a huge support following Graham’s diagnosis of mesothelioma last year.
“I was reluctant to come to the group at first,” said Graham, “I thought it would be full of old people! I’m so glad we did, groups like this are a life line. It really helps to share information and talk to other people going through the same thing. The nurses are also amazing. You can ask them anything, nothing is ever too much trouble for them.”
The group has also been a great help to Noeline Keenan, who five years ago was diagnosed with lung cancer, which then spread to her brain. She was given two years to live. “Five years on I’m still here!” she said. "I get so much out of this group and I really look forward to coming. We’ve become friends over the years but it really is hard when you lose people.”
The Lung Cancer Support Group meets on the second Monday of every month and is led by different specialist nurses from the Trust each time.