News release – for immediate use
UCAN SETS UP NEW PATIENT-LED SUPPORT GROUP
An Aberdeenshire man who overcame prostate cancer is to set up a patient-led support group with the help of UCAN, the north-east urological cancer charity which helped him during his experience.
Along with the help of a committee, Alan Harrow will run the group on the third Tuesday of every month at CLAN House when urological cancer patients and their friends and families will be able to get together in a relaxed atmosphere to share experiences and gain advice from medical professionals.
Alan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2011 and underwent a radical prostatectomy operation shortly after. It was during this time Alan was introduced to UCAN, which has a patient support centre at Ward 44 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The staff at UCAN were on hand to give him all the information he needed about his cancer and its implications and he also discovered the charity's online forum, which he used to speak to others who had experienced what he was going through.
Alan was then approached by staff at UCAN who asked him to take the lead in setting up the group.
Alan said: "I was approached by UCAN with a view to taking a lead role in forming a committee and researching the need for a Patient Led Support Group. We had three informal meetings last year in the Acorn Centre, Inverurie, and saw the benefits of patients and partners spending time together and sharing their feelings, worries and journeys.
"We then formed a committee and set about researching how to adopt best practice with help from Alan Gow at Macmillan and also management within CLAN in Aberdeen.
"We are aiming at facilitating meetings where the wishes of the attendees can be met, whether it is just spending time together sharing experiences and benefiting from listening to medical professionals when we have guest speakers.
"Having visited other cancer support groups we saw for ourselves how important peer support can be and how similar the journeys are when dealing with any type of cancer.
"Overall we are trying to create an environment where anyone affected by Urological Cancer can gain support and information from peers and feel free to have a laugh or cry, share experiences, help one another however they feel at the time.
"We have a dedicated telephone line where people can leave messages or find the date and time of our next meeting - 01224 555885."
UCAN's Fundraising Manager, Fiona JD Pearson, added: "This support group is a great way for people who have any worries, fears or just want to chat about their experience to come together in a comfortable environment.
"UCAN is constantly looking at ways to improve the patient experience and with the help of Alan and this new support group, I think we have taken a good step towards doing so.
"We are grateful to Alan and everyone else who has been instrumental in setting this group up and we hope that those who have had or still have a urological cancer will use it to its full potential."
Claire Fraser, CLAN Cancer Support Services Manager welcomes this initiative. She said: "CLAN is delighted to support the development of the UCAN patient support group by hosting their meetings at our Aberdeen Centre, CLAN House on Westburn Road.
"The ability to have a comfortable and friendly environment to share experiences and gain peer support is an important part of the CLAN values. We also hope that by meeting in our wonderful new facility, patients and their partners will become clients of CLAN and will see what it is that we can provide in the way of support – through our complementary therapies; to counseling and an information service. Al of our services are free and are available to anyone affected by cancer."
UCAN was set up to raise awareness of testicular, prostate, bladder and kidney cancer and support patients and their families and is currently raising £2.5million to purchase Scotland's first robotic-assisted surgical equipment for the hospital, which would initially be used for urological, gynaecological and bowel operations.
UCAN's new fundraising website, at www.ucanfundraise.org.uk, allows fundraisers to register events they have organised and set up sponsorship pages for their friends and family to give online donations.
Visitors to the site can also find out more about volunteering opportunities with the charity, as well as having the option of purchasing UCAN merchandise or simply making a donation.
• For more information please visit www.ucanfundraise.org.uk, call Fiona JD Pearson on 01224 559312 or 07702 795409 or email