Don't Look Away

Issue 20, September 2007 - October 2007
58: Patient Voice

Don’t Look Away
Don't look away: when the cure is disfiguring and disabling the care must be supportive and sustaining
In the second part of our series on Living with the consequences, survivors of head and neck cancer talk about the social isolation and despair of living with mutilated faces and struggling to talk, chew and swallow. Head and neck teams will fail their patients unless they go beyond check-ups for recurrence, and address their patients’ needs for support and solidarity.

The Mouth Cancer Foundation’s award-winning website( contains human stories from the UK and around the world. Most message board members are grateful to be alive. But they also detail years of pain, disability and indignity.

Vinod Joshi also believes more could be done. “At the moment, the only real support these patients get after treatment is follow-up in the hospital tomake sure that they haven’t got a cancer coming back. There isn’t very much support to assist them in getting back towork and in financial support.Nothing to give them a circle in which they can form a community to support one another and get away from social isolation.”

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Cancer World includes in-depth interviews with some of Europe’s most influential oncology leaders, who are invited to comment on breaking news, discuss complex and difficult issues and share their experiences in overcoming personal and professional challenges as they have pushed forward the boundaries of their practice. The magazine also features interviews with people with a high public profile that have an important impact on cancer care – they shape public attitudes and influence how cancer services are delivered and research conducted.

Cancer World is published six times a year by the European School of Oncology with an average print run of 10,000 copies. It is distributed at major conferences, mailed to subscribers and to European opinion leaders, and is available on-line at

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