Posts Tagged ‘cancer words’

Information matters! Research has shown that for women having a hysterectomy, having enough information before the surgery produces a better result. Being informed improves your health!

If ever there was a condition where much information is needed, surely cancer must be it. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, often everyone in the family feels they have stepped into a different world. A different language is spoken, and suddenly processes of the body we rely on every day are called into question. So I was interested to learn that the way information is supplied at the point of cancer diagnosis is set to change in the UK.

In the past, up to 39% of patients have been offered NO written information at the point of diagnosis. Where information is provided, it has been in the form of leaflets or other large chunks of information. This has to cover a lot of different scenarios, and so it may be unclear which parts actually apply to the person, their cancer and their treatment.

The new initiative is known as Information Prescriptions, and there is currently a small test being carried out, whilst all the information is compiled with a view to the system beginning to be available in 2010. In this initiative, the health professionals will compile a set of information which is relevant to the particular person, their diagnosis and agreed or possible treatments. This will be done in the same appointment where the diagnosis is given.

The advantages I see to this system are :

  • There will be less information to go through
  • The information will be available straight away
  • The information will be specific to the actual diagnosis, and situation (as cancer is such a diverse disease)
  • The information will reflect, and be relevant to, any decisions that have already been made
  • Any choices that are still to be made can be shown clearly – with information to help in making them
  • The information may be available in other formats, eg as digital documents, and this may help with spreading it through the family
  • The information can more easily be provided in other languages, for those who do not speak English as their first language, or as audio files for those with restricted vision

I regard it as very positive that the information provided to those with cancer and their families is being thought through so carefully. But of course, there are possible issues that this progress raises, which must be considered. I will begin to cover these in my next post. In the meantime, use the comments facility to let me know what you think. Are you in favour of this initiative? What information were you able to access through the health professionals? How does this compare with how things are done at your hopsital?

Until next time,


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When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the actual word ‘cancer’ might not even be used. The doctor might say ‘carcinoma’ or ‘leukaemia’ or some other technical word. You may have come across these words before, but do you know what they actually mean?
It’s like learning to speak a whole new language. The doctors already speak this language, so they may not realise if you are confused. Or you may be a family member who doesn’t even get to speak to a doctor.
Confusion about what is actually going on could cause unnecessary fear, and we want to avoid that. So we’ve put together some information on our website to explain the words and phrases you may come across. We’ve kept it simple, and you can search for more detailed information later if you need it. Why not take a look at Cancer Words Explained to clear up any confusion? If there’s anything you still don’t understand, or the word you’re looking for isn’t on the list yet, just send us an email and we’ll get right on it.

Knowledge is power.

Anne x

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