The future we want
Tenovus Cancer Care has been bringing practical advice and emotional support to the heart of the community for 75 years. From helping to develop the lifesaving drug Tamoxifen to launching a Support Line, our unique services mean we are there for cancer patients and their families where and when they need us the most.
The demand for our services is increasing and we want to make sure we are able to give cancer patients the future they deserve. We know that sadly, 1 in every 2 of us will be affected by cancer in our lifetime and with more people depending on the NHS, we have to work harder to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer where we can.
That’s why this year, more than ever, we want to work towards a world where no one dies of cancer.
So while we will continue to fund research and provide vital support to cancer patients, we will also launch a series of new projects and developments to deliver innovative research-led prevention, treatment and support where cancer patients need it the most.
We understand the unique challenges faced by people in Wales like rurality, poor access to care and deprivation. All of these things can limit a cancer patient’s access to the treatment they need. That’s why we take treatment to them with our Mobile Support Units, the first service of its kind in the UK, delivering chemotherapy and lymphoedema treatments in the community.
With demand for the service growing, in our 75th year, we are proud to be launching our third Mobile Support Unit. This will be the biggest mobile chemotherapy unit in the world. It will be over 60% bigger than our first unit, creating space for seven patients to receive their treatment at the same time and during its lifetime, could deliver over 125,000 treatments. You will be blown away once you see them.
Tenovus Cancer Care is committed to funding research which directly helps people affected by cancer in communities across the country. Alex Baker, one of our PhD students, is currently concentrating on virotherapy, which is the treatment of tumour growth using engineered viruses.
A significant limitation of existing drug based cancer therapies, is that a significant proportion of patients develop resistance, resulting in aggressive tumour relapse. The use of viruses to kill tumour cells, but not normal cells, represents an engaging avenue as a cancer therapy that is unlikely to be susceptible to cross-resistance in tumours.
Alex’s PhD has pinpointed a virus called Ad49, which is 100 times better at infecting cancer cells than a similar virus called Ad5. Alex is evaluating Ad49 for its potential to kill cancer cells, and enable us to better understand how this virus interacts with cancer cells.
By better understanding how these viruses interact, infect and kill tumour cells, we will tailor them to make them more selective for tumour cells. By increasing the tumour selectivity such that the virus only kills tumour cells, he hopes to translate the laboratory findings into real clinical benefits in treating patients with advanced, chemotherapy-resistant cancers, a huge step in working towards a world where no one dies of cancer.
We believe in campaigning for improvements to cancer services and public health in Wales. The work we do to influence legislation, policy and ideas is based on the needs and experiences of people affected by cancer. We actively monitor the latest evidence and listen to people as a way of establishing our policy positions and campaign priorities.
Listening to the voices of those affected by cancer in our community, we are able to make sure the research we fund meets the needs of those that need it. That’s why we brought together a group of people with a variety of experience in cancer and its effects into our grant decision making process, known as the Research Advisory Group (RAG). This group improves the way our community research is prioritised, selected, undertaken, disseminated and used, acting as “the voice of cancer patients”.
During our 75th year, we will continue to listen to the voices of people affected by cancer through prioritising funding research with high patient and public involvement. We will also keep acting on the funding recommendations of our Research Advisory Group, who ensure we fund research that highlights or meets the needs of cancer patients and their families.
We believe shaping the environment around us and improving wellbeing for everyone will reduce future cancer cases. It’s why we fought for Health Impact Assessments to be part of the Public Health (Wales) Act and it’s why we continue to press our politicians for stricter controls on tobacco products and a Minimum Unit Price for alcohol. We have a vision for a healthier and happier population that leads the rest of the UK in health improvement, rather than follows.
As part of looking to the future, this year we will be looking at increasing our reach to a younger generation. We will be attending more schools with our Here Comes the Sun campaign, to help a large number of pupils learn about some of the ways they can take better care of themselves. By reaching out to the younger demographic, we hope we can really contribute to making a healthier Wales for the years to come.
We have been one of the few charities to campaign actively on restricting sunbeds. It will be a big part of our work to introduce sun bed regulation and place greater restrictions on the very harmful solariums.
We will continue to develop ways to support people to lead healthier lives and to detect cancer symptoms earlier. Our health check directs people to change their lifestyle, to hopefully prevent them getting a diagnosis or be treated much earlier if symptoms are found. Working with Cardiff University, CRUK and Yorkshire Cancer Research, our health check has now received over three quarters of a million pounds worth of research funding to prove its effectiveness.
We know that dealing with everyday life when you’ve been affected by cancer can be difficult. We know that having a cancer diagnosis is something that affects not only the patient, but the community around them.
In our 75th year, we are launching our ACTivate Your Life – Affected By Cancer course, designed to help people understand how to respond to negative thoughts and feelings and how take more power over their actions. This course will begin here in Wales with small courses, but we are aiming to roll this out to deliver it to large groups of people at a time, so that we can support even more people affected by cancer.
Tenovus Cancer Care continues to provide advice and support to people affected by cancer when they need it most via our nurse-led Support Line. From general queries about cancer to supporting patients through their treatment, our nurses provide a valuable resource where we are accessible 365 days of the year. Our Support Line actively encourages patients to be proactive about potential symptoms, tackling the stigma that surrounds cancer, and ensuring cancer is detected earlier increasing the chances of positive outcomes.
We thrive to find new and innovative ways to connect with people and ensure that we have a varied approach to communication, from being accessible on digital platforms to developing mobile phone apps that support more patients through their treatment.
In addition to this, we will be looking at how we can help more people through our Sing with Us choirs. Our ambition is to get singing on prescription, meaning that instead of patients being prescribed a tablet or a traditional prescription method, they can be prescribed to one of our Sing with Us choirs across Wales and in England.
This idea is based around the idea of social prescription and there is a growing desire to move towards this model so that people can get help and support from non-clinical or strictly medical practices. We really hope that we will be able to support even more people by making the most of this opportunity.
Every hour that our supporters volunteer and every penny our fundraisers raise makes our work possible. Our vision of shaping the future of cancer would not be possible without support from the community. So we’ve made sure that 2018 is full of exciting opportunities for our community to get involved and work with us towards the future that all cancer patients deserve.
To highlight this support, this year we are featuring 75 stories that tell the story of Tenovus Cancer Care as we work towards a world where no one dies of cancer.