Information to survive

PUBLISHED: 15:14 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

CANCERi volunteer Laura Corcoran and Mary Wrenn, who runs the service

CANCERi volunteer Laura Corcoran and Mary Wrenn, who runs the service

A DIAGNOSIS of cancer can leave people feeling frightened and alone. Leaving their doctor s or consultant s office, many patients say they don t understand what they have just been told and the shock can be so great that they don t know the questions to a

A DIAGNOSIS of cancer can leave people feeling frightened and alone.

Leaving their doctor's or consultant's office, many patients say they don't understand what they have just been told and the shock can be so great that they don't know the questions to ask.

That is where Grove House and its dedicated information service CANCERi comes in. It offers free confidential information and support not only to patients but to families, friends and carers as well.

The CANCERi office, situated on the ground floor of Grove House which is in the grounds of St Albans City Hospital, is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

People are welcome to phone or drop in as appointments are not necessary. Professional staff and trained volunteers are always on hand to offer information and support at any stage of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.

Mary Wrenn, who runs the CANCERi service, said: "We aim to provide a warm, friendly environment giving people the time and a space to relax and share their concerns.

"We give them the opportunity to ask all their questions and obtain accurate and up-to-date information. We are fortunate to have a team of trained volunteers who can help callers to find the information they need or point them in the right direction."

She added: "We can provide a wide range of information leaflets and we have a small lending library of books and CDs. We also explain to people about the services which Grove House offers and can refer them if required."

CANCERi volunteer Laura Corcoran said: "Because people ask a wide range of questions, we have to be prepared for all kinds of requests.

"One minute we may be asked for information about symptoms and treatments for a specific cancer, the next, it might be about the practicalities of living with cancer such as benefits, wigs, complementary therapies or diet and nutrition.

"If we don't know the answer we will always find out. This is a fascinating place to work and I have met some truly wonderful people, both within Grove House and visitors.

"It is very rewarding to be part of the Grove House team and to help people through what can, at times, be a difficult journey."

To contact the CANCERi office at Grove House call 01727 843401 or visit canceri@grove-house.org.uk

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