'We deserve the best possible care today' - Lancashire woman damns report of lack of nursing care for cancer patients

A Lancashire woman with incurable breast cancer has damned reports of a continued lack in nursing care for cancer patients after diagnosis.

Joanne Myatt and her husband Martin
Joanne Myatt and her husband Martin

Jo Myatt, who lives in Buckshaw Village, near Chorley, has been living with secondary breast cancer since August 2016, a decade after primary breast cancer, and after years of clear mammograms.

The cancer returned two years ago not in her breast area but in her liver and bones.

Jo, 42, said: “I was told I had incurable breast cancer by a GP on a Friday evening , and sent home with no information or numbers to call, or any idea about what was to come.

Joanne Myatt and her husband Martin

“After being given such a devastating diagnosis, the support I received was nonexistent.

“I felt totally written-off.”

New figures revealed by a Freedom of Information request from charity Breast Cancer Care now reveal that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of NHS Trusts and Health Boards across England, Scotland and Wales do not provide a dedicated nurse for people living with incurable breast cancer.

It also shows how there has been only a seven per cent increase in the Trusts and Health Boards providing vital nursing support in the two years since the charity’s last research, indicating a worrying lack of NHS investment in care to help people live well for longer.

Jo, who is a campaigner for the charity, added: “I was totally overwhelmed and mourning the future I’d never have and yet had no dedicated nurse, that person to contact for emotional support, or to guide me through my long list of questions about available treatments and the side effects that I would experience.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to see such a lack of progress in getting people with incurable breast cancer – like me – the nursing support we so urgently need.

“We do not have the time to wait – we all deserve the best care possible today.”

Breast Cancer Care is now calling for funding to be made available to recruit and train nurses to fill the gaps.

Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: “People living with incurable breast cancer tell us that access to a specialist nurse is the single most important aspect of their care and without it they feel isolated, forgotten and invisible. This must not be swept under the carpet.”

An NHS spokesman said: “Everyone with cancer is unique and patients themselves say their experience of being looked after is getting better every year - which makes sense as your chance of surviving cancer is now at its highest ever.”