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
Welcome Back: For our first meeting in 2018 we were delighted to see Mauricette again and welcomed Julie who had been unable to come along to the meeting in Orton and decided to try the Holiday Inn instead.
Breast Care Support Nurse, Claire Snowden, was there to answer our queries and we had a discussion about anti-depressants when going through treatment.
Daytime Meetings: Our experience of holding a daytime meeting at Herlington Centre Orton Malbourne had not been particularly successful.
Institute of Cancer Research are looking for volunteers recently diagnosed or on treatment to raise awareness of the importance of the work they are doing.
PBCSG History: We did say that we would collect photos of our history as a group, which would go into a leaflet/booklet to provide more of a picture of who we are and what we do. Please remember to bring us photos/info from the past.
PBCSG Leaflet: We also discussed our current leaflet feeling it needed updating. Helen suggested we make it simpler, scaling it down to A5 size and it was agreed to also simplify our message and information. Carol said she could provide leaflet printing and Gill said she would carry out the suggested amendments and send on to Carol via email.
Finally Val said the date for this year’s Strawberry Tea Fundraiser is 23rd June.
Overview: It was wonderful to see old members Ruth, Nobbie, Rita, Helen, Chris, Gaynor and Wendy at our annual Christmas Party and the Hotel had come up trumps this year with their buffet, providing a really nice spread which was also gluten free. The party was fun, Val’s quiz was extremely hard this year and won by Ruth.... and we finished with a Secret Santa.
We started by catching up with each other’s news and then letting everyone know what our plans were for 2018:
Our History: PBCSG has been going for many years and seen many changes and we have all gathered a lot of insights and experiences. So next year we plan to see if it would be feasible to set up small local Breast Cancer Support Groups around the Peterborough area. We have formed a partnership with the Community Area Co-ordinator at the City College who will help facilitate a pilot project in the Ortons which starts in January.
Given the length of time the group has been in existence we all have an accumulation of photographs which illustrate our activities and events and provide the history of PBCSG up to the present day. So we have agreed to sort out our photos by February 2018 with the view of putting together our own story and if you have any old photos of the group, can you forward them to us please via Denise or Gill.
Other Ideas: We feel ready to help mentor women going through or after completing treatment by talking about our own experiences both physically and psychologically. And we are also interested in campaigning on raising awareness for mammography for the 70+ age group.
We’d like ideas, comments, suggestions or anybody willing to help provide support and friendship initially in a hospital or Cancer Centre setting.
Overview: The group along with Claire our Breast Care Nurse Specialist discussed how we might help support women going through or after completion of treatment. Rosemary said she had benefitted from talking to other women in the Breast Unit and gained an insight at the time into her treatment. She thought this could be replicated by members if some of us were present at the Unit. Val agreed and said most people just want reassurance from those who have already gone through it.
PBCSG Leaflet: Carol thought that to move forward perhaps we should review our leaflet with more focus on our activities and support. There was general agreement by the group and Carol will look into this when our current leaflets begin to run out.
Our speaker: Jackie Miller: Jackie said she had been in the skin care industry for 30 years and had worked for a number of top brands and was one of the top 460 therapists in the country. She had experience as a film make-up artist and holistic therapist, has a degree in make-up artistry and has done a number of documentaries. She talked to us about skin ageing, using vitamin supplements and the use of good sun protection even in the winter. (read some tips in the full newsletter)
⦁ It was Val’s Birthday - "Thanks for everything you do Val and a very happy birthday from us all".
⦁ Claire apologised for the delay in sending out the October Newsletter as the Trust had recently moved over to NHS Net and as a result this newsletter was misdirected.
⦁ The PBCSG stand in the Hospital atrium had been disappointing very few people had stopped to talk to us
Overview: The October meeting was reserved for the group to catch up on business matters especially how we were going to raise awareness of our existence to the many women newly diagnosed with breast cancer that needed support and friendship through their treatments and beyond.
Calendar Girls: Denise had brought along an impressive calendar produced by the Market Deeping Breast Cancer Group which certainly highlighted their presence to other women and families in the local area and asked if we felt we could do something similar for 2019? Instead we thought given the length of time the group has been in existence we all have an accumulation of photographs which illustrate what we do and the activities and events we have and are involved in. These could provide the story of PBCSG up to the present day and highlight how we work together and with others to give support and friendship. We agreed to sort out our photos by the February 2018 meeting and to contact old members to ask if they would also forward their old photo’s to us by that date. See the newsletter for all the details...
Community Radio: Gill said she had contacted the Community Radio Station who made us so welcome in the summer to find it had ceased operating. We were hopeful of arranging with them to return on a regular basis to spread the word about PBCSG.
Hospital Stand: Gill suggested as October is Breast Cancer awareness month that PBCSG have a stand in the hospital to promote the group.
Xmas Party: Finally we discussed our annual Christmas Party.
Breast Cancer Nurse Specialist: Claire brought along some copies of ‘Woman’s Own’ magazine with relevant articles about Breast Cancer and other health issues and braved her first solo meeting taking questions from members.
Psychology: Debbie Williams arrived straight from her work in Birmingham as a Clinical Psychologist. We introduced ourselves and Debbie started with a resume of what we talked about on her previous visit in April 2017; our deepest fears often around our lives, our expectations of ourselves and others and our mortality. Debbie explained she has a set of Russian Dolls in her office and she uses them to help patients to understand we all have several layers of self and by recognising and peeling each layer off we reveal more of ourselves. She suggested we begin our sessions with Ground rules of confidentiality and complete trust with what is said in our room stays in our room!
- The Crokus Group’s AGM is on Sunday 17th September; their speaker will be talking about Animals for Friendship followed by a social gathering with refreshments provided, family and friends are welcome.
- Peterborough City Council have issued an invitation to Voluntary Sector organisations to contribute to their Market Shaping Event
- Thanks goes to Carol for printing and delivering PBCSG leaflets to Claire at the meeting.
New member: We welcomed Deirdre to her first meeting. Deirdre had been an active member of Boston Breast Cancer Group and has now moved to Peterborough and had come along to see what we get up to.
Breast Cancer Nurse Specialist: Lisa was available for queries: it was highlighted that there is a need for women over seventy to continue to have regular mammograms. Lisa advised to contact the Breast Unit Screening team on 01733 673068 or 673069.
Community Radio: Denise had been very impressed with Peterborough Community Radio who had been kind enough to promote the group when Val, Denise and Gill visited them and thought this was something we could do regularly.
Group Awareness: We need to use our PBCSG Facebook page to promote ourselves more productively. Gill then handed out info about creating strap lines to the main name Peterborough Breast Cancer Support Group rather than changing it totally, for members to think about.
AOB: Denise had written to Kathy Dickinson, Wellbeing Project Lead for the Robert Horrell Cancer Centre asking if they could promote us when patients have completed their activities at the Centre. The Krocus Club have invited us to their AGM on 17th September - Contact Denise if you are going. Jenny had been contacted by Sue Shaw who runs ‘Casting for Recovery’ and now works with the Country Side Alliance, asking if those who took part last year would like to say something about it. Travelling to the venue would be involved and the event takes place on 9th September. Denise had been contacted by the Hospital Radio Guide asking if we would like to advertise in their publication. Cost £166.
The meeting finished early to give us time to head for the Woodman for a meal and social evening.
Breast Care Nurse Specialist: Breast Care Nurse Specialist Claire Hall attended the meeting and introduced Claire Snowden, Breast Care Support Nurse to the group.
Group Advertising/Awareness: Denise had written to Kathy Dickinson in the hope that the Cancer Wellbeing Centre would highlight the Groups existence to local women with a Breast Cancer diagnosis after they have completed the courses running at the centre.
Group's Posters: Gill had produced two different posters advertising the Group and after discussion one was chosen for display in GP surgeries and at the Cancer Wellbeing Centre.
Strawberry Tea: Val reported that the total raised at the Strawberry Tea event was £510.00. The event was well attended and thanks should go to Val’s son and the volunteers who had done a great job in coordinating the event on the day. £350 from tickets and donations, £165 from the tombola, £48.50 from the plant stall and £19 from Name the Teddy.
Donations: Denise reminded members that at present this money was being used to provide psychological therapy sessions with Mimi and asked Claire if the Breast Unit was in need of any particular equipment.
Specialist Nurse Visit: There were apologies from the Breast Care Nurses who were unable to attend the meeting this evening due to family commitments. If anyone needs to contact them phone or send a note via Denise.
Membership: Last month Claire had remarked on our depleted numbers and after discussion it was decided to highlight the group’s existence in the Breast Unit at the City Hospital and local GP surgeries. As an outcome Carol had produced 12 A3 laminated posters for us to distribute in our local communities and for display in the Breast Unit. June suggested making a smaller version for GP notice boards and Gill agreed to look into this and then pass on to Carol.
We also looked at using the rolling video screen in the Unit and Oncology to advertise our presence which Val agreed to follow up with the media department in the City Hospital
Every patient diagnosed with a breast cancer is given a blue information folder; every folder has the flyer in advertising the support group. As well as this posters are also on display in the waiting room of the Breast Unit.
Announcements: Val had responded to the donation of 2 cheques for £41.00 from Stibbington and Wansford W.I.
AOB: June alerted the group to the fact that long term use of Tamoxifen may cause Gynaecological issues. She had had one removed as a day case following a bleed.
Joy asked if anyone had read that chemotherapy made people more susceptible to skin cancers. There is no speaker planned for the July Meeting and after the Nurses session we are planning to either go for a drink and a chat and for those of us with the energy a walk in Ferry Meadows.
Specialist Nurse Visit: Claire from the Breast Unit attended this meeting. The Unit continues to be busy and understaffed until the merger with Hinchingbrook Hospital has been sorted out. Vanessa is acting as Manager at the moment and overseeing arrangements. A discussion on how to improve attendance took place, the outcome was;-
- Provide more leaflets not only in the Breast Cancer packs but also in the Unit,
- Oncology and Wellbeing Centre especially after the Moving on or Hope courses are completed.
- A rolling announcement on the Breast Units video.
- A Poster with ‘what we do’ information for display.
- PBCSG Newsletter available in the Unit
- Advertise on local community radio.
Donations: Denise had received a donation of 2 cheques for £41.00 from Stibbington and Wansford W.I who had raised the money by knitting and selling tea cosies.
Rawlingson Invite: Val had received a invitation from Rawlingsons inviting us to their annual Workshop on funding for charities. She would not be going but if anyone wished to attend she will pass on the relevant application forms.
Fund Uses: Val and Denise have discussed the use of our funds this year and proposed to fund a counsellor for PBCSG members.
Resourses Needed: Val is planning her annual Strawberry Tea event for Saturday 24th June, she needs the usual resources, tables, chairs, tea cups and tombola prizes
Newsletter: Currently Gill sends the newsletter to the Breast Unit for distribution by email. She had proposed that, to save time we, as a group could take over this function. After some discussion it was felt it would be more appropriate for the group to leave the distribution system with the Breast Unit.
Clinical Psychologist Debbie Williams (Birmingham University): To start the session Debbie asked us what issues we wanted to talk about. Two stood out; - In terms of diagnosis ‘family need our support, whereas so do we’ and ‘going back to work when expectations are the same as before’.
Strawberries & Tombola: Val is planning her annual Strawberry Tea event for Saturday 24th June with an addition to the tombola and plant stall of ‘name the Teddy’ competition. She asked if we could bring any tombola gifts to the next meeting when tickets for the event will be available.
Coffee Morning: A Coffee Morning is being held to raise funds for the Oncology Department between 10.00am – 12.00 pm on Saturday 6th May at Mountsteven Avenue Scout Hut (corner of Mountsteven and Lincoln Road)
Hinchingbrooke: This month our Breast Care Nurse Specialist was Claire Hall who told us about the merger with Hinchingbrook Hospital in Huntingdon. The Unit there operates differently from Peterborough as their screening is carried out in Addenbrooks Cambridge, so discussions were ongoing as to how the Breast Care Service will be organised in future. As a result of the merger, the Hospitals will be known collectively as North West Anglia Hospitals Trust.
Screening: The age for screening for Breast Cancer has returned to 50 years from 47 years. Screening is carried out every 3 years from then on until the age of seventy when it is necessary to refer yourself.
Tamoxifen: June had heard that Tamoxifen had been ‘taken over’. Claire said this was not the case, some women are switched over to different medication depending on their medical history during treatment and these like Tamoxifen are taken as a preventative measure for 5-10 years.
Karen Scholes, Oncology Research Nurse Peterborough City Hospital: Karen trained as a nurse in 1990 and works with Dr Macadam on 15 clinical trials at the moment which focus on Breast Cancer. She explained that a clinical trial may test new treatments, ways to reduce side effects of treatment or to control symptoms. They may also investigate the causes of cancer and new ways of preventing, diagnosing or screening for cancer.
Clinical trials: are voluntary and before joining a trial a doctor or researcher must get your permission and ensure that you understand what is involved before you sign the consent form. In Breast cancer trials this could involve taking tissue or blood samples.
Denise asked how the hospital chooses which trials to take part in? Karen said through Dr Macadam’s reputation as lead Oncology Consultant and our nearness to Addenbrooks so that patients and facilities can be combined. Current trials are listed in the newsletter pdf.
AOB: Val is planning her annual Strawberry Tea event for 24th June with an addition to the tombola and plant stall of ‘name the Teddy’ competition
We started our first meeting for 2017 with an information update from Lisa our Breast Care Support Nurse: Vanessa is now the Unit Manager, new Breast Care Support Nurse is Claire Snowden, Mr Goh is now the lead consultant, Mr Abdullah having semi-retired, and supported by Mrs Shetty, Mr Mathew and part time by Mr Rezulski.
Different breast reconstruction techniques are being introduced: a pioneering new approach is using pigskin. The pigskin graft works like an internal bra, cradling the implant and allowing some of the natural droop of a normal breast. The graft, known as the Strattice graft, is pigskin stripped of all pig cells, so that the body doesn’t reject it. This gives a reconstructed breast which sits lower in the chest, giving it a nice curve and making it a much better match to the other breast.
Denise then welcomed Ann from Cambridge and Peterborough Learning Trust who had given up her evening to talk to us about Nail and Hand Therapies. She started with some tips and we tried various varnishes techniques. We also discovered nail ridges tend to occur with age and can be hidden with ridge filler prior to painting the nails. White spots occurring on the nails could be a sign of iron deficiency if all the nails are affected or an indicator of damage if just one nail involved. Denise thanked Ann for coming tonight and we all felt we had learned a lot.