Calne cancer survivors group gets going

This Is Wiltshire: Jim Laing had prostate cancer. He and his wife Ruth are now setting up a support group for cancer survivors. Jim Laing had prostate cancer. He and his wife Ruth are now setting up a support group for cancer survivors.

Cancer survivor Jim Laing and his wife Ruth are starting a support group in Calne for people who have battled cancer and are adapting to life after their diagnosis and treatment.

Mr Laing, of Wessington Park, Calne, has survived cancer twice. He was diagnosed with melanoma 21 years ago at the age of 42 and prostate cancer ten years later.

His care during treatment for prostate cancer, included six weeks of radiotherapy at the Velindre Hospital in Cardiff and hormone therapy.

But after his recovery he lost regular contact with doctors and struggled to go from life as a cancer patient to life as someone who no longer needed treatment.

Mr Laing, who has a yearly check-up for his prostate cancer, said: “The new support group is for people who have survived cancer and would like to talk to others about life after treatment and any worries for the future.

“It’s interesting talking to people who have been though a major trauma in their lives and how they have coped with it and moved on, but sometimes it’s difficult to move on.

“I’ve spoken to a number of people who feel that there’s a point where it gets uncomfortable to be dismissed by the health professionals who have treated you.

“It’s not just the person that’s diagnosed, it’s family and friends and interestingly they become cancer survivors in a way. My wife has to deal with it in her way as well.

Mr Laing, a retired headteacher who taught at two primary schools in Calne, hopes to hear from interested people by the end of April.

He volunteers as an advocate for Prostate Cancer UK and The Topic of Cancer, a charity formed to raise awareness and funds for cancer immunotherapy research.

If the group is successful he is also keen to fundraise for The Topic of Cancer, a charity Mr Laing said is looking at a new way of treating cancer in a way that hasn’t been used before called immunotherapy.

“I’m curious about what other things are being developed for cancer treatment.”

To get in touch email ra.wiltshire@topicofcancer.org.uk For more information about the charity visit www.topicofcancer.org.uk.

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