A BLAIRHALL woman who has battled cancer is just one patient that has benefitted from a groundbreaking new service in Fife.

'Improving the Cancer Journey' provides emotional, practical and financial support and, in the 12 months since it began, has helped more than 600 people just like Pamela Harrower, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April last year.

She said: "The news came as a complete shock.

"I had no symptoms and was the healthiest I had felt in a while.

"My medical team were fantastic and, during treatment, I was so focused on getting through it that I didn’t have time to think about anything else.

"However, once treatment finished I felt I needed even more support.

"Thankfully, I had received information about the Improving Cancer Journey and gave the team a call.

"My link worker, Sharon Breeze, talked through everything with me, which was such a relief.

"It felt like the first time I had properly talked about it all.

"She broke down all our concerns and addressed each of them, from money worries to fitness and my mental health."

With advances in treatment, more people than ever are surviving cancer and people who are living with the disease are living longer.

However, research shows that the impact of cancer does not stop when the treatment is over.

People often have to deal with the long-term effects of treatment or other conditions that can have a huge impact on health, wellbeing and independence. Many don't often know where to go for help coping with the impact. That's where the 'Improving the Cancer Journey' service, a joint partnership between the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and Macmillan Cancer Support is making a difference.

Link workers provide a person-centred approach and discuss "what matters" to each person.

Julie Paterson, divisional general manager (Fife-wide), Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “This is an extremely valuable service for those in Fife living with cancer.

"Everyone deals with cancer differently and we want to make sure that those impacted by cancer are aware of the service and how we can continue to support them to live as well as possible.”

To find out more about how the Improving the Cancer Journey can help, call the service on 01592 578076 or email improving.cancerjourney@fife.gov.uk.