Community First News & Updates

New Macmillan Cancer Connections Project

by | Oct 3, 2018 | Community Development, News

Building community capacity with Macmillan Cancer Support.

October 2018 marks the launch of an exciting new partnership between Community First and Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillan is the UK’s leading source of cancer support and is there to help people find their best way through cancer and live life as fully as they can.

Macmillan Cancer Connections is a new community engagement project that aims to understand how being rurally isolated impacts upon experiences and associated outcomes for people living with cancer in Wiltshire. The project which is funded by Macmillan and based at Community First’s office in Devizes, will be led by experienced Community Organiser Alex Neale in her new role as Macmillan Community Development Coordinator.

Rurality & Cancer Outcomes

Recent research has identified that cancer patients who live more than an hour away from a major hospital, are diagnosed and treated faster than those who live closer to the hospital. Whilst statistics for the diagnosis and treatment of rurally isolated cancer patients were reassuring, researchers at the University of Aberdeen also uncovered a puzzling trend in cancer outcomes for rurally isolated patients in Scotland.

Despite faster diagnosis and treatment, rurally isolated patients in the Scottish Highlands were more likely to die from cancer in the first year of treatment, when compared with patients who were less rurally isolated. Lead researcher Dr Peter Murchie, clinical consultant at the University of Aberdeen, has called for more research to help identify what (if any) factors affect the apparent disconnect between treatment time and clinical outcomes for cancer patients who live in rural areas of the United Kingdom.

This research is of particular interest to leading cancer charities like Macmillan, as well as other healthcare professionals and organisations that support people affected by cancer in a rural county like Wiltshire.

What treatment choices do patients in Wiltshire make after they are diagnosed with cancer? Could travelling further to hospital be a barrier to effective treatment for patients across the county? Are there any other factors that affect treatment outcomes? And perhaps most importantly, what can be done to improve outcomes for cancer patients in rural parts of Wiltshire?

The Macmillan Cancer Connections project in Wiltshire, aims to find out.

Building Community Capacity

As Macmillan Community Development Coordinator, Alex Neale will be responsible for reaching out to people affected by cancer in Wiltshire and listening to what they have to say about their experience. Alongside this, Alex’s role also involves building community capacity by developing, delivering and coordinating a broad range of community-based initiatives, which addresses the health and wellbeing needs of people affected by cancer across the county.

Julian Backhouse, Macmillan Partnership Manager for Berkshire & Wiltshire said:

“We are delighted to join forces with Community First on this new brand-new initiative. It is so important to listen to local people and understand the issues that are making it difficult for them to access cancer services and support their wellbeing. I’m looking forward to seeing the project develop over the next two years, the insights it will bring, and most of all, the positive impact it is going to make on people living with cancer in Wiltshire.”

Stay tuned for updates on these exciting new health in the community projects throughout 2018-2019, via social media, e-newsletters and the Community First blog.

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