Macmillan Cancer Support and Self Help UK helping deaf people with cancer with new project

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 16th November 2022 8:15 am
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Photo by Steve Smailes Photography www.stevesmailes.co.uk (Steve Smailes Photography )

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Two charities have joined forces to improve support for deaf people living with cancer in the Isle of Man.

Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides support for people living with cancer, and Self Help UK, an organisation which promotes and encourages self help groups across the UK, have developed the Macmillan Deaf Cancer Support Project.

It offers one-on-one emotional and practical support remotely in British Sign Language (BSL) through trained deaf volunteers.

The two-year pilot will also support carers, including deaf people who are supporting a hearing person with cancer.

According to Macmillan, the pandemic highlighted a number of barriers to accessing cancer information and support for the deaf community across the Isle of Man.

This included lack of interpreters at some medical appointments and a shortage of cancer information in BSL.

One in three (32%) people with cancer in the UK who are also living with hearing loss or deafness say the pandemic has made it harder for them to access healthcare or treatment in general in recent months.

This compares with around one in five (22%) people with cancer who do not have any hearing loss.

When it comes to general sources of support with their cancer, those with hearing loss or deafness are also less likely to have turned to their family or friends, a cancer charity, or an online support group.

The project will also give deaf people with cancer access to virtual peer support groups and provide advocacy support in complex cases, says Macmillan.

A website tailored to the needs of deaf people with cancer will provide information in BSL.

Heather McLean, head of partnerships for the Macmillan in the north and north west, said: ‘Being diagnosed with cancer can be a frightening experience and it is unacceptable that deaf people do not have equal access to vital support.

‘This new partnership with Self Help UK will ensure that anyone facing a cancer diagnosis in the deaf community can access emotional and practical support when they need it most.’

Simon Calvert, managing director of Self Help UK, added: ‘It’s fantastic that Macmillan are continuing to fund Self Help UK’s team of deaf staff and volunteers. It will allow us to further develop this ground-breaking Deaf Cancer Support Project.

‘We are excited to be able to make a real impact on the quality of support provided to the deaf community.’

To find out more or access support visit www.selfhelp.org.uk/deafcancersupport or email [email protected]

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