Leading experts in oncology came together for this year’s Because I need more than medicine conference to shine a light on living with cancer. The conference, hosted by Penny Brohn UK, was attended by primary healthcare professionals, oncologists and cancer thrivers determined to have an open conversation about the changing landscape of cancer support and how people with cancer need more than medicine to not just survive but to thrive.
Four people from different walks of life spoke during a panel discussion where they shared their experience of living with cancer which has transformed their lives. Kris Hallenga, founder of CoppaFeel, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 23 and is passionate about the importance of maintaining good health during and after cancer treatment. Kris was joined by: Laura Philips who set up cancer community, We Get It, after receiving treatment for Lymphoma; Sophie Trew who set up the UK’s first ever holistic and cancer festival called Trew Fields; and Nick Parker, author of The Cancer Journey Man.
Talking about her experience at the conference, in her column in The Sun, Kris Hallenga, said: “Cancer not only affects you on a cellular level, but in so many other ways too. There’s side-effects of treatment, the mental anguish of having your life turned upside down by illness, the financial burden, your physical activity and so much more. Thank goodness for charities such as Penny Brohn UK that help to relieve all the above, and more.
“The charity’s national conference was for medical professionals – from primary care to oncologists – to learn about all the extra-curricular things that are going on in the cancer space that help to treat someone holistically.”1
The conference also heard from Prof Rob Thomas who talked about the importance of gut health and swapping sweets for fruit at an oncology treatment unit; Dr Chris Johnstone explaining how we can build resilience; and Hayley Beaumont from GenesisCare who talked about the importance of keeping physically active during cancer treatment.
Speakers and delegates all agreed that by using lifestyle medicine, psychological support and complementary therapies alongside standard medical treatment people affected by cancer can be empowered to reclaim control of their health and rediscover the joy of living.