A former cancer patient has joined forces with a hospital trust to spearhead the launch of a new support group for patients with melanoma.
Paul Duhig was a patient at the St Luke’s Cancer Centre at Royal Surrey County Hospital after being diagnosed with skin cancer (melanoma). Thanks to oncologists he was able to receive a brand new generation of Immunotherapy drugs as part of a clinical trial that has put his cancer in remission.
Wanting to establish a support group for patients and relatives also affected by melanoma, Paul worked alongside staff from Royal Surrey County Hospital, and other patients, to launch the support group, MelaNoMore. Paul took a leading role in setting up the group and was supported by Delia Sworm and Kate Upshon, Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialists, Kelly Smith, Support Worker, and Liz Clayton, Oncoplastic Surgeon. Macmillan Cancer Support and The Fountain Centre were also instrumental in the launch of the group. A lively Committee has now formed with interested patient representatives.
Paul, Chair for the group, said “The support my wife and I received particularly from Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialists Kate Upshon and Delia Sworm was so important in my care. They kept me going, and I see the MelaNoMore support group as a chance to give back and help those going through similar experiences.
“I am also very grateful for the support MelaNoMore has received from The Royal Surrey, as well as The Fountain Centre charity, and Macmillan Cancer Support who gifted us a generous grant of £2,800 to cover the cost of setting up the group.”
MelaNoMore is primarily a support group for patients with melanoma, as well as their relatives, to share experiences and meet each other. It will also hold education and fundraising events as well. The group held their first session as a Wellbeing and Launch Day on Friday, 27 September with 50 people attending.
Delia Sworm, said “It’s wonderful to work with Paul on such an important cause; this group will be a vital addition to the system of care and support we provide to our patients.
It’s great for a patient’s wellbeing to have somewhere to meet and talk with others, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about treatment or anything medical, but just being social and knowing you’re not alone can be a big help.”
Skin cancer, including malignant melanoma, is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with 13,500 new cases each year. Please seek medical advice as soon as possible if you notice changes in a mole, freckle or patch of skin.
For more information about the MelaNoMore support group, or if you are interested in joining, please contact Kelly Smith, Skin Cancer Co-ordinator on 01483 571 122 ext 4831 or email Kelly on Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org.