Finding the right support and comfort during a cancer journey can be quite daunting. From first hand experience, the team at CancerPal have developed a range of care boxes and products to help ease the side effects of cancer treatment. We spoke to the team to find out more…
Tell us about CancerPal…
CancerPal offers a unique range of products and support for all those affected by cancer; patients, friends, family members and loved ones.
We have developed a wide range of Cancer Care Boxes which have been categorised by stage of treatment or side effect: for instance; surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, nausea (amongst others). At CancerPal, we know from first-hand experience, that friends and family want to show support but aren’t always sure how to.
We have also carefully researched hundreds of products in our CancerPal MarketPlace to help ease the nasty side effects of cancer treatments. These are organised by symptom type so visitors can find helpful products they may not be aware of.
We conduct our own research into recommendations made by other cancer patients and check that the products are helpful, practical and useful. We also ask ourselves if we would give it to our own loved one, is it good enough quality? If the answer is yes, we try to stock it.
At CancerPal we also share information and tips from those who have been through cancer treatment. This advice is wide ranging from breathing exercises, dietary information, hair loss, nausea, stress and anxiety. It isn’t medical information, but it’s knowledge and experience that has been shared by other people who have also been affected by cancer. We’re also not trying to reinvent the wheel. If there’s some great information on someone else’s website, we’ll point you to it.
And what is the background and inspiration for CancerPal?
The idea for CancerPal was developed by Jo Riley, Founding Director, after her beloved Mum died from cancer in 2018.
Jo knew there was a lack of support for the family and friends of those going through cancer and kept mulling it over, thinking about the type of support she would like to have received. 80% of cancer care in the UK is provided by family and friends and Cancer patients don’t want to spend all of their time in a hospital – they prefer to go in for their treatment and then recover at home. But that puts a massive burden on the family and friends who are thrown into the realms of being instant carers. At the time Jo felt so helpless in this new role and didn’t know what to say or do to support her Mum or help her feel better. She felt completely isolated – she didn’t know where to go for help, so turned to Google. Jo literally spent hours and hours each night, often into the small hours, Googling her Mum’s diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options, but soon realised, that sadly, many people had been through this experience before her Mum and that there was a wealth of knowledge out there dotted all over the internet and actually, there were lots of practical things she could do.
Jo started researching the side effects of her Mum’s treatments – we’re all aware that cancer treatment can cause hair loss, but wouldn’t necessarily know this came with a sensitive scalp. She wasn’t aware that her Mum’s skin would blister and burn from the radiation treatment and had no idea that the tablets her Mum was taking to keep her alive would cause the worst mouth sores she had ever seen, meaning that some days her Mum found it difficult to speak, let alone eat. She also found people that had been through all of this and were able to provide hints, tips, recommendations, and products to help ease some of the horrendous side effects – products that Jo just didn’t know existed. Jo started to create her very own Care Boxes for her Mum and will never forget how much those little boxes meant to them both. They represented the fact that Jo had tried to understand (just a little bit) what her much loved mum was going through.
That was the inspiration for CancerPal. Jo did her absolute best to help, support and care for her Mum, but there are things she knows now, that would have made that help and support even better. Through CancerPal, Jo wants to share that knowledge with others, so that they can provide the best possible support to their loved ones in one, easy to use, place.
How else does CancerPal provide support?
In addition to our Care Boxes and Marketplace product range, our website is also rich in content covering a wide range of support as follows;
Our guest blogs cover a wide range of topics. Many are written by those undergoing treatment for cancer for instance, coping with chemotherapy. Others are written by those who have recovered from cancer containing hints and tips of how they and their loved ones have managed. We are incredibly proud of the guest contributions in our blog section as they have all been written by some truly inspirational individuals.
We also have information articles for instance, nausea remedies, dealing with stress and anxiety, breathing exercises. We work with professionals who have developed holistic approaches to managing the effects of Cancer treatments including a Body led Psychotherapist, Psychotherapist and Cancer Counsellor, Mindful colouring specialist. Some of these approaches will work for some people and not others. CancerPal provides a wide variety of support sources so that everyone will be able to find strategies which suit themselves.
We have support pages categorised by symptoms, for instance, hair loss, nausea, stress and anxiety. On these pages we provide a summary of our blog articles on the subject and a summary of hints and tips. We also use this forum as a space to signpost to other organisations that specialise in that specific area.
So many people in the cancer community have said that they wish there was a ‘guidebook’ to cancer and whilst there isn’t our ‘CancerPal Newsletter’ is the next best thing. Each month we focus on a different cancer side-effect or subject and we share information, advice and tips in a single email. It’s a great way of ensuring that patients, carers and helpers are not missing out on any of the new content that we’re continually adding to the website.The knowledge that we are helping and supporting cancer patients and their families is very special and at the very heart of CancerPal.
What are the values of your organisation?
Our website and our product offering can make a huge difference to the wellbeing of patients, carers their families and friends in managing the effects of cancer treatment.
Where can readers access CancerPal information?
It’s incredibly important to mention that CancerPal doesn’t offer any medical advice or opinion, we are simply sharing the knowledge and experience of others who have been though a cancer diagnosis and treatment. We have a quote on our website that says, “Doctors tell you what is going to happen with your treatment – but other patients tell you how to cope with it”.
And finally, describe CancerPal in three words…
Practical, thoughtful and caring.