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Cancer summit to be held in Norwich to help improve treatment

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 August 2013

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) being carried out at the dermatology department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Consultant Dr Anne-Marie Skellett oversees the procedure.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) being carried out at the dermatology department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Consultant Dr Anne-Marie Skellett oversees the procedure.

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Calls have been made to improve the care and support for patients suffering from cancer following the organisation of a summit in Norwich.

Cancer support groups and people touched by the disease are being urged to take part in the first Norfolk Voices for Cancer meeting, which will be held next month.

Officials from the Norfolk Campaign Committee for Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) have joined forces with the Big C charity to stage the event on September 24 at the Assembly Rooms in Norwich to help improve the experience of patients after receiving a diagnosis.

The summit, sponsored by Natwest, has been organised following the disbandment of the Anglia Cancer Network earlier this year after the organisation lost its funding following a major reform of the NHS.

Organisers hope to take the Norfolk Voices for Cancer programme across the county in the future. They added that they were not sure how many cancer groups were in Norfolk, but they could have a stronger voice by working together.

Daphne Sutton, chairman of the Norfolk PDT group, said they hoped to make cancer treatment a less scary process for patients and make sure they are given the knowledge needed to fight the disease.

“We want patients to feel more confident and to know their rights and it is about the patient being part of the decision making process. It is about taking back control and that is really important to get the best outcome,” she said.

The Norfolk PDT group was established to fund research into the uses of PDT as well as raising awareness among clinicians and patients about how it can be offered as a treatment option for certain types of cancer. PDT uses laser or other light sources, combined with a light-sensitive drug to destroy cancer cells.

Ian Gibson, a member of the PDT group, said they wanted to ensure that patients knew what questions to ask when they get a diagnosis and that they can ask for a second opinion.

“We want to make sure that patients get as good a treatment as they do at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, which is the Vatican of cancer treatment. Patients have a lot to say about clinical trials and I am not sure they are asked about clinical trials.”

The cancer summit is limited to 40 delegates on September 24. For more information and to book a place, call 01263 824868, email daphnesutton@yahoo.co.uk, or visit www.pdtnorfolk.co.uk

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