Together we will beat cancer


It's the Little Things...

31 Aug 2018 20:29

A YouGov survey commissioned by Cancer Research UK has highlighted the stark realities of living with cancer. The survey asked 1,015 UK adults that had ever been diagnosed with cancer at some point about the changes their body went through while undergoing treatment and how they coped with them. It revealed that almost three in 10 cancer patients surveyed (29%) have experienced mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The other biggest change mentioned was a change in energy levels with over 57% respondents experiencing this at some point. As many of you know only too well, these physical and emotional changes can have a direct impact on your daily life. 29% of respondents reported physical changes to their hair, nails or skin and it can create a vicious circle where the physical symptoms can greatly influence mental wellbeing. Concentrating on simple everyday tasks such as cooking or doing the housework can take a lot longer. It can also be difficult to sleep at night, which will then naturally decrease energy levels. The good news that does emerge from this survey is that in a majority of cases, people have felt well supported by their loved ones with only 6% of respondents reporting that cancer had had a negative impact on closest relationships.

Numbers and statistics are all very interesting, but as nothing can replace hearing from personal experience, I would like to invite you to watch this little video of two young Cancer Research UK supporters, Talia Mazzucchetto and Ethan Martin-Garcia, who give their views on the realities of living with cancer, and what brought them most comfort during their treatment:

I think many of you will agree with Ethan that “it’s the little things that really help you to push through”: the delicious food people bring you to hospital, or being given that perfect pair of slippers which mean the world to you and which you still wear even if they have got too small. All those small gestures of support that mean “we are in this together”, as in the example of Talia’s father who shaved his hair and wouldn’t let it grow back. This seems to tie with the findings from the YouGov survey which highlighted that being given flowers or chocolate – although nice gestures too – doesn’t come at the top of the list of what is most helpful to someone affected by cancer. Those “little things that really help you to push through” to use Ethan’s words don’t even need to cost money. It could be practical help with household chores, food shopping and meal preparation. It could also be items which are both thoughtful and practical – that one can either take to hospital or use at home, for example skin, body or hair products suitable after chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

If you are stuck for ideas and need inspiration, whether it is for yourself or a loved one, you might wish to have a look at our new Cancer Care range to get an idea of the kinds of little things that can make a difference in the life of someone affected by cancer. In light of these survey findings, I’d be curious to know whether you have been touched by special acts of kindness during and after cancer treatment and whether these manifested themselves in the shape of special gifts or simply as practical or emotional support? But also what sorts of products did you use yourself which made you feel better, whether it was to help cope with dry skin, brittle nails, thinning hair or any other discomfort?

We’d love to hear your stories and your own experiences of the realities of living with cancer. Wink

Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator



It's the Little Things...

31 Aug 2018 21:26 in response to Moderator Lucie

One of my sons has always given thoughtful presents. Since my diagnosis, he's bought me a wheelie-walker thingy, two plastic, re-usable pee bottles, one of those hospital-type tables that you can eat in bed from and a small side table for beside my chair, where I spend most of my time. Also bought a thermometer and blood pressure monitor.

Another son made funds available temporarily, to get my chair.

My daughter presently takes me to my appointments and acts as advocate for me; I'm somewhat away with the fairies. All my children and wife have acted thus.

My grandchildren smile at me.

Just a few of the things that have helped and continue to do so. There's more but they're the things that spring to mind straight away.


It's the Little Things...

31 Aug 2018 22:46 in response to Moderator Lucie

Hi Lucy..

What a lovely thread this is .. it will be interesting to know what keeps others going when things seem really hard .. mine was a little present my niece gave me befor my mastectomy. 

It was a little wooden heart , with the words .. always remember you are ... braver then you believe ...stronger then you think ...more beautiful then you imagine ... and loved more then you know .. ❤

It's the Little Things...

31 Aug 2018 23:39 in response to Taff

Wow you are blessed with wonderful children and a really caring family Taff. Your son is very practical indeed giving you reusable bottles and hospital-type tables which you can use in bed. How clever is that! And having someone who takes you to your appointments, that's another great example of the little things that can mean the world to you. As for the smile Happyof the grandchildren, I bet that is priceless.

Thanks a lot for sharing these, Taff!


It's the Little Things...

31 Aug 2018 23:41 in response to Chriss

Awww your niece is so sweet Chriss. What a thoughtful present that was. A real little wooden good luck charm that I imagine you keep with you all the time now.


It's the Little Things...

1 Sep 2018 00:22 in response to Moderator Lucie

what a nice thread, months before my diagnosis i lost my dog through illness, the vet sent me a beautiful card with a poem and a packet of forget-me-not seeds so i scattered them in my garden, anyway after months of tests and surgery and a diagnosis of terminal cancer there to my suprise was an array of blue flowers in my garden it was the firsst time id smiled in weeks, im just hoping ill still be here to see them bloom next year x

It's the Little Things...

6 Sep 2018 10:10 in response to lillyx

What a lovely story lilyx forget-me-nots are such beautiful flowers and your vet was so kind he or she deserves a vet of the year award. I guess these 'forget me not' flowers make you realize you are not forgotten.

So sorry to hear you lost your dog just before your diagnosis.