Find out more about our meetings. Catch up if you've been unable to attend. Download the group's Newsletters below in pdf format.
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In August 2014 there was a Q&A Session. Here is that newsletter for download. Q&A August 2014
It was lovely to see old and new members for our first meeting at our new venue and welcome to Clare who joined us for the first time.
Our speaker for this meeting was Saima is a nutritionist with Everyone Health Cambridgeshire.
She gave a very informative talk about the importance of a good and balanced diet to promote health in particular during cancer treatment and in assisting the recovery process. She provided an Eat well Guide both for vegetarians and meat eaters (I have copies of these so will bring some along to the next meeting for those who would like to have one). She emphasized a good diet includes lots of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods, some protein, milk and dairy and a small amount of fat, salt and sugar. It is important to try and include food such as sardines – rich in calcium to support bone health in particular, as this may be affected by chemotherapy. The issue was raised from a couple of members about the difficulty of trying to eat a balanced diet during chemotherapy and how difficult it is to make changes to your diet when going through treatment. The consensus was to try to eat a little and often.
Next Official Meeting:
7th April 2022 - The Woodman, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough. £2 for coffee or tea. :-)
Read more on March's meeting here: March Newsletter
It was lovely to see old and new members for our first meeting at our new venue and welcome to Clare who joined us for the first time.
Thank you to Claire Hall for taking time out of her busy schedule for joining us. Clare joined us as this month's representative from the PCH specialist Care Nurse Team. Clare said she and her colleagues are as busy as ever. The Unit faced challenging times during the COVID pandemic.
A question was asked about breast screening which had stopped during the pandemic. Clare explained that breast screening for women aged 50-70 is by appointment only.
Invitations for screening are sent automatically to women up until their 70th birthday. Women aged 71 or over can contact their breast screening unit to make an appointment every 3 years. It is of course important to note though, that if women show breast symptoms they should contact their GP as soon as possible. Catching the disease early is crucial to long term outcome.
Next Official Meeting:
3rd March 2022 - The Woodman, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough. £2 for coffee or tea. :-)
Read more on February's meeting here: February Newsletter
Thanks for coming.
It was lovely to see everyone after such a long break. We all had a good chat and catch up. Great to see people in person, after what seems like an eternity.
Next Official Meeting:
As regular attendees of the Group will know, we do not meet in January so the next formal meeting of the Group will be at The Woodman (address above) on Thursday 3 February 2022. We will meet at 7.00 pm and finish at 9.00 pm.
As we cannot formally meet in December, I thought it would be nice if we could meet up for a pub Christmas meal locally. This will be on Thursday 2 December 2021 (If you would like, or are able to come could you please let me know by Friday the 19 November 2021). It is at the Fox & Hounds Pub. Thorpe Road, Peterborough PE3 6NB meeting at 7.00 pm. A deposit of £5 deposit per head is required. You can choose from the Festive Xmas set Menu or the general restaurant menu. I will need to know which menu you want. The pub
also requires we pre-order so if you can let me have your choices that would be helpful. You will find the menus at the following link. https://www.chefandbrewer.com/pubs/cambridgeshire/fox-hounds
ANNOUNCEMENT...- Next Meeting Tuesday 2nd November 2021 at The Fleet Community Centre, Fleet Way,
High Street, Fletton, Peterborough, Cambs PE2 8DL 7.00pm to 9.00pm.
I know it has been an age since we last met. I hope you have all been coping and managing to get through these challenging times. To be honest I am not sure where last year went and this year seems to have disappeared within a blink of an eye. I am sure many have learned to adjust to the new normal. I for one continued to work, albeit from home. That was a steep learning curve for me, trying to grapple with IT. I think by the end of last year I was pretty zoomed out. I was lucky however to be able to work from home, many could not. My poor husband went down with long COVID, 18 months later he is just getting his energy back. I am sure we all have our tales to tell and I am mindful that many have missed the support and friendship offered by our Group, I know I have.
I had hoped to get the Group back up and running sooner so we could all meet again, however, I wanted to be sure, that it was of course safe to do so. Unfortunately, the Holiday Inn sadly let me down. When I suspended the bookings at the start of the pandemic they said to call when I was ready to get them off the ground again, however, they have said they can no longer accommodate us. I suppose they are trying to make up lost revenue, which is understandable. However, it has been a bit of a struggle to find somewhere that could take us in.
The Fleet Community Centre however were happy to accommodate us. Isabella, the Centre Manager was lovely and very accommodating. I have however had to move the meeting from a Thursday to a Tuesday.
As this will be our first visit to the Centre as a Group, we can see how we get on there. Isabella has said if we want to book it on a monthly basis that should be fine. Refreshments will be available. For those of you who do not know the Fleet it is based in Fletton. The address is above. There is a large free car park. I am going To visit the Centre before the 2nd November to familiarise myself with where we will be. I am really looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible, and perhaps some new faces.
Bye for now.
If anyone would like to contribute to this Newsletter please send information to Helen Staggers at
Meetings: Firstly, I hope you are all keeping as well as you can during this difficult time. Secondly, in view of the current situation; the monthly meetings of the Support Group will be suspended in line with Government advice on social distancing and group gatherings. Unfortunately, I cannot say when they will be resumed but I suspect that it will be well into the year. We had hoped to have our Strawberry Tea on the 20th June 2020 but in all likelihood, this will now not proceed. I will keep this month's newsletter brief therefore.
Nurses: This month's representative from the PCH specialist Care Nurse Team was Lisa. As ever Lisa reported the Team was very busy and working very hard. New cases continue to grow. I for one, especially at this time, cannot thank enough all the staff at PCH who will be working flat out.
Speaker: The Group had a very informative talk from Sue Shaw from Casting for Recovery. For those of you who have not heard of this charity, they provide an opportunity for women who have been affected by breast cancer treatment to learn the sport of fly fishing in a beautiful, natural setting to promote mental and physical healing. Just as importantly, the retreats offer an opportunity to meet new friends, exchange information, and have fun.
For details of the dates and venues please go the the Charity's website which is countryside-alliance.org/charity/casting-for-recovery-uk-irelandrecovery-uk-ireland.
Contact: It will be strange not to see everyone next month, but if anyone wants to keep in touch please do so through our Facebook page. My email address and mobile number is at the bottom of the newsletter. Just so we do keep in touch I will, each month, get some form of Newsletter out just so we are keeping in touch and not feeling too isolated.
Stay well and keep safe. See you all soon.
Helen Saggers - PBCSG Co-ordinator.
Nurses: This month's representative from the PCH specialist Care Nurse Team was Clare. Clare said the Team as ever are very busy. Hinchingbrooke has now six full time staff, however there are four members of the team on long term sick leave. The PCH team from April will be running more clinics. Clare said there was a shortage of
radiographers. Staff at Peterborough may be called to go over to Hinchingbrooke. There has been no change with the surgeons on the staff team.
Questions: Denise asked about mammograms for the over 70's. The procedure is that you still need to call for an
appointment and you should have one every 3 years.
This Month's Speaker: Gillian Sloss: Clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. Gillian works from the Wellness Clinic in Werrington. She talked about the conscious brain which is the logical thinking part of our brain. She said there is the primitive part of the brain which is activated if we sense we are in danger, the flight/fight mode. When anxiety increases the brain moves into this mode and if this is sustained it can cause long term issues such as anger and depression. It is not healthy for the mind to be in a constant state of high alert and the mind needs to be calmed. Gillian ended her talk by doing a relaxation session with the Group using hypnotherapy which everyone said was very beneficial and relaxing. Gillian said that she can run group relaxation sessions at Werrington for the Group if they wished. She also said she would email a relaxation recording to members.
Apologies for not getting the Newsletter out in December for various reasons I was not able to get it done. I hope you all enjoyed the Xmas party. The minutes of the November meeting are as follows:
Nurses: This month's representatives from the PCH Nurse Team were Lisa and Marie. The nurses confirmed that they were still very busy. There was nothing of anything significance to report from the Team.
This Month's Speaker: The guest speaker for the evening was Stephen Duffy who is a solicitor and partner in the Private Client Team of Buckles Solicitors based in Peterborough. He gave a very lively and informative talk on a number of issues dealing with wills powers of attorney and estate planning. He explained that the area of wills can be very complex.
AOB: As time was short there was not a chance for the Group to discuss any other issues. All were reminded about the Xmas party and the secret santa.
As there is no meeting in January one of the Group suggested a pub meal in January on the 18th January at The Farmers in Yaxley. If anyone is interested please contact Helen.
Next Meeting Reminder: 6th February 2020 - the guest speaker tonight is Gillian Sloss. Gillian is a NCH registered hypnotherapist. Gillian practices Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Relaxation therapy.
Information & Updating: If anyone would like to contribute to this Newsletter please send information to Helen Saggers or if you would like to see up to date and relevant information on our webstite please email our website provider/administrator Blue Monkey Web.
Nurses: This month’s representatives from the PCH Specialist Care Nurse Team were Clare and Laura.
Book: One of our members shared with the Group a book she had read “Eat to Beat Disease” by Dr William Li. She shared that the book looks at how diet can impact/effect cancer both pre and post diagnosis. "According to Dr William Li, the choices consumers make in terms of food are essential in living longer and healthier lives. While there are many foods that are deemed healthy, said label does not suffice. The expert claims that the key difference rests in how the body responds to what it’s being fed, and he defines good health as, “the result of the body’s defense systems.”
Xmas: The meeting continued and topics for discussion were the December meeting which is our Xmas celebration. Ideas were shared about activities for the event to include games, a photo-booth with props, secret Santa. It was agreed that as before the food would be a finger buffet (healthy) and Helen will sort out the menu with the Hotel.
Other Speakers: Members also requested that Stephen Duffy solicitor with Buckles Solicitors come back to the Group to talk about Wills, Trusts and Power of Attorneys. Helen confirmed she would ask him to attend our next meeting.
Sad News: Finally on a very sad note a founding member of the Group, Olive Thompson died on the 24th October 2019. Denise will be sending condolences to the family from the Group.
Nurses: There was no rep from the PCH Specialist Care Nurse Team.
This Month's Speaker: Claire Collinson: Claire gave a very interesting talk about her work. She has been the resident artist at Metal in Peterborough. This is her third city residency; the other two have been Southend and Liverpool. Claire is a visual artist, artist and writer. Claire has had breast cancer and she explained that as soon as she was diagnosed the surgeon spoke to her about reconstructive surgery. She said she felt there was a presumption that this is what she wanted. She said there had been very little time to assimilate the diagnosis before her surgeon got onto the subject of reconstruction. She said this prompted her to look at this subject from an artistic perspective and in particular explore why there is very little visual art of women who have had breast cancer surgery. She has been a life model and has also run life model classes for women who have had breast cancer. She showed the Group some professional photographs of women who have had breast surgery.Helen Saggers our current Coordinator, introduced the newest member of our group -also named Helen and next month’s Guest Speaker, Claire Collinson.
Claire’s presentation led on to a varied and interesting Group talk on all sorts of issues: Aryuna mentioned that for those who wanted reconstructive surgery they can be referred to a cosmetic surgeon if they wished. Clare also asked Helen if someone from Buckles could come and give a talk about Lasting Powers of Attorney and will as the last speaker in this was very informative. The Group agreed that would be a good topic.
Nurses: This month’s Representative from the PCH Specialist Breast Care Nurse Team was Lisa who duly answered the questions members put to her. Thank you, Lisa.
New Members: Helen Saggers our current Coordinator, introduced the newest member of our group -also named Helen and next month’s Guest Speaker, Claire Collinson.
This Month's Speaker: Susan Broccoli: Graphic Designer & Social Media Manager from Blue Monkey Web & our Website Manager. Susan held our interest with information and challenges on how to keep our website etc up to date & relevant to all. We currently have approximately 110 followers on our website which is quite low & in order to raise this we need to be more chatty, send in pictures, increase our interaction and post more recommendations. Susan explained the differences between sharing general information, like the Newsletter or recommendations on our website and personal information about our journey through breast cancer diagnosis, treatments etc. which may become conversational or image with or without comment.
Online Group: We discussed the possibility of a Facebook Community Group which would need a Moderator. Jacqui very kindly volunteered & Susan agreed to set it up as a Closed Group.
Website Updates: On the question of which advertisers should appear on our website pages; it was decided that in order to keep our information current we should share our knowledge and experiences constantly and keep this information updated.
Communication & Sharing: Finally it was suggested that we have an Agenda Item on each month re: why we come to PBCSG or how we benefit from coming. We should send in pictures of anything which can be made relevant to our site to raise our currently low profile. Susan said ‘the picture of the back of the head or a pretty flower in the garden - a sign, symbol or picture depicting something appropriate’ may be all you need to send in.
Our new Coordinator: Helen who uses electronic communications in her daily life will discuss and help us decide how this will happen and Jacqui who uses social media on a very regular basis will advance our electronic presence with the help of Susan Brocolli & Blue Monkey Web.
Strawberry Tea: Val was happy to report that the Strawberry Tea, she & her family work so hard to put on every year, made us a Total of £520.32. We thank Val & her family for all the preparation, hard work & care they take of all who attend this annual event. The picture below shows Val in her garden, being presented with a Thank You card and gift by the members who were able to attend on behalf of all the current Group members. Conversations about how we were going to spend some of this money considered treating us to healthy finger food provided by the Holiday Inn for our December Christmas Party/Meeting & the possibility of part funding members to attend a good show locally.
Monthly Speaker: Mandy Benefield, who is a Teacher by profession and has enjoyed making clothes all her life. About 3-4 years ago Mandy undertook a Bra making Course and gets her bra making supplies from a wholesaler in Canada. She brought us samples to examine and explained how these were made. www.fit2sew.co.uk She explained how a bra could be built then used as a model for T-shirts, swimsuits etc. Most of the group present preferred non-underwired bras & Mandy agreed these can be most comfortable but stated that often commercially made underwired bras used standard sized wires or bones so they felt less well fitted or even sore. However, everything in the home-made bra would be accurately measured & so fit comfortably & look just as the wearer chooses it to look. Between 3 & 6 members expressed an interest when Mandy offered Bra-making classes. These would probably take 2 hours each week for 5 weeks or 5 1/2 hours over 2 days.
NHS Healthwatch: We received a communication from the Cambs & Peterborough NHS Healthwatch Organisation thanking us for responding to their questionnaire on the 10 year plan setting out all the Government, via Regional Healthwatch Groups, wants Health Services to do for people across the UK as it hopes to invest £20 billion by 2023.
Welcome: We welcomed many of our new & old members. Denise gave an update on Gill’s continuing treatments i.e. she was coping excellently with the chemotherapy.
Strawberry Tea: Val has sold several more tickets to members for her final Strawberry Tea on Saturday 22nd June 2019. Thank you Val and everyone who donated or is helping out.
Nurses & Referral Info: Helen introduced Nurse Claire Hall, who explained referrals are triaged when they arrive into the Breast Dept. from GP’s etc... The old 2 week wait is now approximately a 6 week wait which she acknowledges may create anxiety for new patients, but staff/consultants were doing extra clinic sessions every weekend and that creates a bigger demand for Operating Theatre time which is probably at a premium. They have recruited more nurses; another new Breast Care nurse is due to start soon at PCH. Other staffing requirements need more time to resolve successfully; such as the recruitment of Radiologists & specific Breast Radiographers. Then there is the need to cover extra Clinics at Hinchingbrooke which has joined the Peterborough Hospitals Trust Group. The good news is Screening Services are still recalling ladies every 3 years for their mammograms.
Substitute Speaker: Justin Preston High, Development Worker with the CPLT (CP Learning Trust) came along and helped us to indulge our artistic skills by choosing & threading the beads for and making ourselves Hand Bangles. There was a great buzz & everyone helped those that needed organizing!!
New Event: Linda informed us that on Saturday the 6th July from 11.30-1pm there is to be a Yaxley Coffee “N” Cake morning at St. Beads Hall, Yaxley. This is being organised by a Breast Cancer survivor to raise money to ‘give back’ to PCH’s Breast Unit. Of course we’d like to encourage as many people as possible to go & try out all those home-made cakes & help to raise money for our favourite department at PCH.
Trip: Helen will be contacting people via email about the proposed Summer Trip to Cambridge. Please look out for her email & respond as soon as you are able.