Putting our region's cancer needs first

We Need to Talk...

A team of cancer researchers, funded by North West Cancer Research, celebrated at Lancaster University the completion of their project and the resulting publication of their book.

The Gynae Cancer Narratives project, which ran from 2019 to 2022, focussed on the hidden experiences of patients treated with radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer.

The results of in-depth discussions with eighteen women who have received radiotherapy at some point in the last twenty-five years have been collated and published in a book entitled “We need to talk… about radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer”.

The aims of the project and book were to increase understanding of how radiotherapy impacts social, personal and sexual lives and to improve future patient experiences of living with the impacts of radiotherapy.

The book itself brings together patient experiences, with the aim that the care for people with gynae cancer will be the best it can be for every patient. The researchers hope that the book will be read by patients, relatives, radiographers and all involved in care.

Project lead Dr Ashmore said: “We have collected two sets of narratives relating to individual experiences of radiotherapy treatment for gynae cancer. The first set includes narratives from sixteen women, who recorded their experiences of radiotherapy treatment from the start of their treatment and up to six months following treatment.

The second set includes narratives from eighteen women, who have had radiotherapy treatment for gynae cancer at some point, ranging from less than one year to up to twenty-five years ago.

“For patients and their relatives there is advice, alongside examples of how and what to ask prior to, during and after treatment, and encouragement to ask again if they do not get answers. For practitioners, there are questions to encourage reflection, conversation, and communication with patients and also to challenge current services.

The aim is that questions can be used directly or as prompts, or as part of a support or reading group.”

You can get your hands on a copy of ‘We need to talk about… Radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer’ at: tinyurl.com/GynaeNarratives