I am a cancer Clinician/Surgical Oncologist of some 20 years standing in the NHS. I have, like many consultants, a busy job and despite being told of the good work at Penny Brohn had never found time to visit and pay attention to what was going on. That was until I was diagnosed as having Dukes C2 cancer of the colon! I received excellent treatment from colleagues in both surgery and chemotherapy, but in the gulf that followed initial treatment, was at a loss as to what to do next. I felt a ‘passive’ patient and had the strong feeling that I had to do something for myself. My Oncologist said “why not visit Penny Brohn and see what they have to offer you?” I did, and all the stuff I had learnt about survivorship and living beyond cancer fell into place.
One thing led to another, I did a residential course and continued to go to other sessions of interest. I rubbed shoulders with other patients and learned of their positive experiences. As a result of my own experience, I now give patients information about Penny Brohn and how it can benefit them. Clearly ‘one size does not fit all’, but the vast majority of patients find it a vital way forward and have expressed their positive experiences at Penny Brohn.
As a former member of CRUK Clinical Trials Advisory Board, I have promoted the work of Penny Brohn and continue to encourage inclusion of their work and allied work in areas of research which incorporate survivorship. There is so much still to explore in combining Penny Brohn’s approach with standard cancer therapies. I feel strongly that the work of the charity, should be widely available in the UK as a whole, as part of a commissioned-integrated approach to cancer care.
Prof Raj Persad, Consultant Cancer Urologist, North Bristol NHS Trust
I have been recommending Penny Brohn to patients for several years. Everyone, without question, returns feeling physically better, happier and more confident. A great asset to their post-treatment rehabilitation, if on the curative pathway, and an enormous comfort for those needing palliative support.
Professor Robert Thomas, Consultant Oncologist at Bedford and Addenbrooke’s Cambridge University Hospitals
The publication of Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes, by the Independent Cancer Taskforce in 2015 confirmed that the holistic, person centred view of what a cancer diagnosis means, which Penny Brohn has been advocating for years, is now very much at the heart of national developments in cancer support and treatment.
We have been greatly impressed by the work Penny Brohn do to support the people they see, and by how they use this to inform and influence the wider health and social care landscape. With more people than ever before living with and beyond cancer, the need to ensure future developments are driven by people’s direct experience has never been greater. Penny Brohn continue to play an essential role in making this happen.
Chris Farrell, Chief Executive at Cavendish Cancer Care
I have known about Penny Brohn since its inception, but I’ve only recently been there and seen what they do. I now understand the importance of their work. They don’t just provide personalised support for people to live well with cancer, they ensure that what they do is theoretically principled and evidence based. In other words, it’s replicable.
I’ve recently had a friend diagnosed with cancer. One of the first things I thought about when I heard her news was that she might like to find out more about Penny Brohn. There can be no finer testimony.
Professor Alf Collins, Clinical Lead for Person-Centred Care at NHS England
I have collaborated with Penny Brohn since 2005 and have published many articles with them; developing innovative, valid and patient-centred means of recording patient concerns and measuring how Penny Brohn meets the needs and concerns of their clients. We have evaluated the impact of Penny Brohn over time. The staff and trustees at Penny Brohn have always been open to feedback and data from clients and using this to improve the services provided. It has been great to see how the charity has gone from being Bristol based, to providing services around the country.
I frequently recommend Penny Brohn to people who find themselves with a cancer diagnosis, or are supporting a person with cancer as I can be sure that the services provided are evidence-based, and very high quality. The Penny Brohn Research and Evaluation Team has been reliable collaborators who work hard and deliver on these projects.
Dr Marie Polley, Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences and Research at the University of Westminster
I’ve known about Penny Brohn since its inception as the Bristol Cancer Help Centre. I’ve huge respect and admiration for what they do for patients in helping their self-care both in terms of the immediate cancer diagnosis and their longer term survivorship agenda. They’ve done a huge amount to enable and benefit patients and have led nationally and internationally in this field.
Professor George Lewith, Professor of Health Research within Medicine at the University of Southampton