Our best ever Patient Day!
Beating Bowel Cancer’s annual Patient Day took place on Saturday 28 April at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. For 2012 it was bigger and better than ever with around 250 patients, carers, healthcare professionals, speakers, exhibitors, trustees and staff attending.
New competition announced
The day opened with an introduction from Beating Bowel Cancer’s chief executive Mark Flannagan. Mark gave an update on the recent successes of the charity and an insight into plans for the future, including the growth of Beating Bowel Cancer team to include a national network of community fundraisers. Following the success of last year’s photography competition, Mark announced a new challenge for 2012 - to submit the most interesting photo of our famous bum shorts.
Lord Darzi discussed new surgical techniques
The keynote address by charity patron Professor the Lord Darzi was very well received. Lord Darzi spoke about challenges and new developments in bowel cancer surgery. Delegates were particularly impressed by his simple explanations of complicated procedures and techniques, with many naming his speech as their highlight of the day.
The programme in the main lecture theatre continued with a talk on living well with bowel cancer, including the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise and tips on how to deal with fatigue.
Moving session about impact of bowel cancer
A session which tackled the emotional and psychological impact of living with bowel cancer proved very popular. Common emotions felt by patients during and after treatment were discussed including denial, stress, anxiety and anger. Many found the session deeply moving as patients shared their stories, with one patient commenting that they felt relieved to discover it is ok to feel all of those emotions.
The morning programme also included sessions on the latest developments in treating liver and lung metastases, a talk on advances in endoscopy, and an overview of contact radiotherapy for the treatment of rectal cancer.
Learning from breast cancer charities
After lunch Baroness Delyth Morgan delivered the second keynote address about the lessons that bowel cancer charities can learn from breast cancer advocacy. Formerly of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and now chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, Baroness Morgan shared many useful examples of where breast cancer has led the way for other cancer charities.
The afternoon programme continued with sessions on regaining bowel control, myths and facts about non-adherance to treatment, and travel and leisure with a stoma. The relaxation techniques workshops proved particularly popular with patients and carers alike. Whilst, during the break, members of Beating Bowel Cancer’s online community joined together for a Tweet Meet, enabling regular Twitter, Facebook and forum users to put faces to names.
Throughout the day patients were given the opportunity to book one to one consultations with specialists including stoma nurses, clinical nurse specialists, genetics counsellors and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The exhibition hall offered delegates an opportunity to take time out to find out about useful products and the latest technology in diagnostics and treatment, along with the opportunity to speak to specialist support groups, taste delicious patient friendly foods and get a make-over.
Patient Achievement Awards
The day culminated with a group ‘bum shorts’ photo and the Beating Bowel Cancer Patient Achievement Awards. Congratulations to Ann Cole, Dafydd Farr-Jones, Hazel Elkamouri and Alison Selfe for their outstanding contribution as ambassadors and supporters of the charity’s work in 2011/12.
We had some fantastic feedback from delegates on the day. If you would like to let us know what you thought of the event why not tell us on the patient forum?