At Christmas, the Lymphoma Association asked whether any of their consumer group members would also be willing to volunteer to become lay members of the National Cancer Research Institute Consumer Group. With the DIY works to the bungalow coming to an end in a few weeks time, I decided that I could afford the time to volunteer my services, if they would have me. Organisations like to have non-medical members to read and evaluate papers and reports and contribute to the process from a the viewpoint of someone who consumes cancer services, rather than provides them. Obviously I am rather hoping that I never have to be a consumer again, but I am happy to share my experiences and thoughts on whatever comes along.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended an interview in London, and I am very pleased to say that I am one of the new recruits. Unfortunately, they are having a training session while we are in Norway, but I will attend the next one when they run it again in September and I am looking forward to the first meeting proper just before Easter.
In a strange way, it is a really exciting time to be a cancer sufferer if you are lucky enough to be in remission from lymphoma. I know that my experience is not necessarily typical and that the picture is not rosy for everyone with cancer – far from it. But there is yet another article on the news today about how immunotherapy can be used to make the body deal with cancerous cells itself. I posted a few months ago about how chemotherapy may become a tending of the past in only a few years and today’s news appears to be a big step along that way. There was also news about switching on T-cells ( part of the lymph system and similar to but different from the B-cells where my cancer sits ) earlier this week. These cells can be tricked into fighting cancer cells elsewhere in the body, potentially avoiding the need for chemo or radiotherapy.
It really does feel like we might be getting somewhere with this and I am hoping that my membership of the NCRI panel can help in a small way to moving this forward.
Maybe it’s time to think about another cancer research charity book? Because, one day, we will get there.