'Patients can make a unique and vital contribution to healthcare decisions'
Married with two grown-up kids, Paul first got involved in our work after being treated for testicular cancer (primary and secondary) during 2011-12. He has contributed to a number of consultations with teams at Cancer Research UK and has recently become a member of our Policy and Information Patient Sounding Board.
Why did you get involved in our work?
I spent quite a bit of time in cancer wards during my 4-month chemotherapy treatment and I came across many people with advanced and terminal cancers and most of whom were suffering terribly. I was moved by their pain and fear, the despair of their families and the resilience and dedication of the staff. I vowed to myself then that if I was cured, I would find ways to support this “cancer community”.
Why is patient involvement important to you?
Patients can make a unique and vital contribution to healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to issues that directly affect the patient experience, because only we know how it feels to be the recipients when these decisions are implemented. Therefore we can help ensure that decisions and plans are as well-considered as possible.
Additionally, many cancer patients can offer a wide diversity of professional expertise and talent that can add value to the healthcare system. In my experience, no-one is more motivated to see a cure for cancer than those of us who have been through it!
Patient Involvement is important to me because I can see that there is considerable scope for improving the patient experience. Having witnessed and received some less-than-optimal care I am very motivated to help deliver improvements.
How would you describe your experience of being involved in Cancer Research UK’s work?
It’s been very varied, which is interesting in itself. Some opportunities can be quite mundane and routine whilst others are more stimulating and challenging. The important thing is, that everything we do can help, even in small ways.
I’m learning masses about the cancer community and the charity sector, which is fascinating and the more I learn the more I feel able to contribute effectively.
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