For people with cancer, being able to continue in or return to work can help them reclaim their life from the disease. It can provide a return to normality, restore their identity and self-esteem, and ease financial worries. But at Macmillan Cancer Support we know that people with cancer often face difficulties at work after their diagnosis. More than four in 10 people who are working when diagnosed have to make changes to their working lives, with almost half of them changing jobs or leaving work. There are more than 100,000 people of working age diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK.
So saying no to a drink for a month, when surrounded by shots, 21st birthday parties and bar crawls, has certainly proved a challenge. I wasn't exactly pacing the floors looking for a mini-bar a la Denzel Washington in Flight, but I did feel an apprehension that I hadn't before experienced when going out.
What really caught my eye about the article was the fact that it used the word "survive". They won't recover from cancer. They will survive it. I know that it was meant in the sense that they won't die from it, but it struck me in a completely different way. From my perspective you don't recover from cancer. You simply survive it if you are lucky.
One in four people newly diagnosed with cancer in the UK will lack support from family or friends during their treatment and recovery - that's more than an estimated 70,000 people every year not getting help at a time when they need it more than ever. Of those, around a third - an estimated 20,000 people each year - will receive no support whatsoever, facing cancer completely alone.
The moral imperative to root out ageism in the NHS now has legal backing, following the recent expansion of the age-related provisions of the 2010 Equality Act to include services. All public sector organisations must eliminate unequal treatment on the grounds of age. But where do we start in cancer care?
Earlier this month health secretary Andrew Lansley hailed the 'fantastic' achievements of hospitals across England after the results of this year's national cancer patient experience survey showed three out of five hospital trusts have improved the level of care and support they provide to cancer patients... but it's not the whole story.
How we treat people at the end of life is the mark of our society and we only get one chance to get it right. It is time to forget about taboos, to find out what people's end of life wishes are and to act now to improve the system so that these can be respected. If we don't, people will continue to die alone in hospital unnecessarily.
Today, Macmillan Cancer Support launches new research which reveals for the first time the number and profile of people caring for others with cancer. And the results are concerning. Everyone affected by cancer deserves the right support and that includes cancer carers. It is a small simple step which can have such a good and lasting impact on carers. These people who selflessly give of themselves for the benefit of others shouldn't be forgotten any longer.
Cancer patients and their families are 20 times more likely to ask for help about financial issues than death and dying, figures suggest. Four out ...