Living well with and beyond breast cancer in Scotland

Written by: Angela Harris, Head of Scotland, Breast Cancer Now

Published: 17/04/2018

Angela describes how the 'Moving Forward' project is helping people adapt to life after treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. In Scotland, around 4,600 people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

At Breast Cancer Care Scotland (this link will take you away from our website), we know that adapting to life after breast cancer can be difficult and lots of people experience long-term side effects of treatment such as fatigue, pain or depression.

The number of people in Scotland being diagnosed with breast cancer has increased over the past decade, which means that more people will need support once treatment ends.

We want everyone affected by breast cancer to receive the best treatment and support – which is why we developed Moving Forward (this link will take you away from our website) in 2011. Moving Forward is a tailored intervention for people after they have finished hospital based treatment for breast cancer, designed and delivered in partnership with the NHS. The course covers a range of topics delivered by expert speakers who provide practical information and emotional support in order to help people manage the side-effects of breast cancer treatment – whether that be lymphoedema, menopausal symptoms or body image.

Over the last year, we ran 28 Moving Forward courses in partnership with Health Boards and are excited to be launching the service in the Highlands later this year as well.

To better understand Moving Forward’s impact to participants, the NHS and wider society, we commissioned an extensive external evaluation in 2017. We will be launching the results of this evaluation in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 25 April to MSPs, healthcare professionals and policy makers.

It’s encouraging that supporting people to live well with and beyond cancer is recognised in the Scottish cancer strategy ‘Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action’. However there is more work to do, and Moving Forward is a ready-made solution to support Cancer Networks and Health Boards in implementing a package of support for breast cancer patients. At Breast Cancer Care Scotland, we’re ready to work with NHS Scotland and others to deliver more Moving Forward courses to provide vital support to people affected by breast cancer.

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