A former patient has spoken about the benefits of attending a head and neck cancer support group.
Local support groups in Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe have been set up by staff at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) to help patients who are living with or in recovery from head and neck cancer.
They meet once a month and have different speakers who offer advice such as how to get fit, healthy lifestyles and other support services available in the local area. They are a very welcoming and informal group that is run by head and neck cancer patients and their close friends and family with the support of the clinical nurse specialist team from the hospital.
Former neck cancer patient, Steve Kibble, 70, has been attending the head and neck support group in Cleethorpes since January. It was Mr Kibble’s nutritionist who introduced him to the group.
In 2006, Mr Kibble went to see his GP as he had an elongated lump on the left hand side of his neck. At first, his doctor thought it was a tooth infection and prescribed Mr Kibble antibiotics, as well as advising him to see his dentist.
Mr Kibble then had two teeth removed and this is when his dentist spotted that he had a “flappy bit of flesh” at the back of his throat. He was told to go straight to Grimsby hospital where they did a biopsy. Later it was confirmed that Mr Kibble had cancer.
He subsequently had an operation at Grimsby to remove the left-hand side of his neck. After this, Mr Kibble had radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
As a result of the cancer, which is now in remission, Mr Kibble is unable to eat solid foods.
Speaking about the benefits the support group offers, he said: “Having cancer has a very nasty after effect and it is just nice to get together with likeminded people. Psychologically it has affected me as well. It is a very traumatic thing to have.”
Hazel Walker, Macmillan head and neck clinical nurse specialist, runs the patient support group in Cleethorpes which was launched in October 2018.
Hazel said: “We want to increase awareness of this extra support and increase the awareness of head and neck cancers.
“We are a support group for head and neck patients, their families and carers in the local area. We provide support to patients and their families from diagnosis to living with and beyond cancer.
“We are a friendly group that meets on the first Tuesday of every month in the Community Room in Tesco, Hewitt’s Circus, Cleethorpes.”
Deborah Tindall, head and neck stoma specialist nurse, said: “Our local support group in Scunthorpe is on the second Tuesday of the month.
“We hold it in the community room at the Asda superstore on Burringham Road from 10am until 12 noon. It’s open to patients, family and carers who have had a diagnosis of cancer and we offer a supportive environment.”