Cancer patients asked to come forward to share their cancer stories using pictures and films

Monday 4th February 2019

Cancer patients asked to come forward to share their cancer stories using pictures and films

The Cancer Alliance, a partnership of the regions NHS, public, voluntary and charitable organisations all delivering cancer care, has launched an appeal called: ‘Cancer: A picture tells a thousand words’.

Sue Yates, a former breast cancer patient and a trustee of the national charity ‘Flat Friends UK’, which supports ladies living without reconstruction after mastectomy, has agreed to tell her story through images of her journey. She said: “A picture tells a thousand words! For me this is about creating a legacy and helping others by talking about and showing real experiences of cancer through images and pictures. Many of us take photos to document our cancer journey – whether that is having treatment or how we felt after, just living with the illness.

“I think it’s really positive that people can share their stories to help others by inspiring them, showing what it’s like to have treatment. It’s also our opportunity to work with organisations connected with cancer care to understand what works well as well as how things could improve to make it better for the patients, their families and loved ones.”

Family and friends of those affected by cancer can also come forward and act as models to illustrate the cancer journey on behalf of their loved ones or to show their own experiences.

Julia Jessop, Programme Director for the Cancer Alliance, said: “We want to gather as many pictures as possible and tell as many stories as we can. These stories will then inform how cancer care improves, as well as building awareness of cancer signs and symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis. The images don’t need to be professional looking, nor posed – this is about the reality of cancer.

“We would also be looking for volunteers who are willing to talk to us about their pictures and potentially recreate their story into a picture board that we can share with our organisations to make sure we are putting patients and their experiences at the heart of what we do. “This is just one of the ways that we are trying to engage with people but there will be many more. I’d urge people to come forward and share their stories; it could really make a difference for others.”

The images will be used online, across the Cancer Alliance’s new website (yet to be launched), in promotional materials and across social media. Most importantly, the images will be used to understand what is good and where improvements can be made. The Cancer Alliance is also looking to produce a piece of artwork that will celebrate the experiences and engagement of the people who come forward.

By taking part, sending in images and videos, people are giving permission for the Cancer Alliance to use these pictures and films.

The images and photography need to be of the individual concerned, unless permission is given for others in the photograph and can be at any stage, or setting, in the cancer journey from people’s homes and gardens to holidays and whilst having treatment.

Karlie Thompson, Communications and Engagement Lead for the Cancer Alliance, funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, added: “We see the real need and benefit of engaging with patients and the public. This can be in a small way or more involved, anonymously or sitting side by side with us at meetings. Our commitment is that patients and the public are involved in shaping real change across cancer services. What better incentive than knowing we are learning from your experiences, good or bad, and that you’re making a difference to others following your footsteps?”

For more information or to submit your pictures or film, please email: You can also tweet us @CA_SYBND, through Instagram on @canceralliance_sybnd or via Facebook, search for ‘SYBND Cancer Alliance’.

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