A blood cancer diagnosis is life-changing and can spell the start of a lengthy and physically challenging treatment journey. But the psychological impact of a diagnosis and treatments can be equally challenging – both for those living with blood cancer and their loved ones.
Expert emotional support can therefore be vital for someone going through a blood cancer journey. That’s why we launched a revolutionary pilot: the Leukaemia UK Mind & Body team at King’s College Hospital.
This ground-breaking project integrates physical and psychological care to provide holistic support at every stage of treatment for all affected by a diagnosis.
We believe this approach has the potential to revolutionise blood cancer care throughout the UK.
The Leukaemia UK Mind & Body team includes counsellors, psychiatrists, a clinical psychologist and a social worker. Together, they work with the haematology team at King’s College Hospital to integrate clinical and emotional support for blood cancer patients and their loved ones, from diagnosis and all the way through treatment.
We want integrated physical and mental healthcare to become standard practice throughout the UK. Through their work, the Mind & Body team are researching and evaluating the effectiveness of holistic care within haematology. They aim to prove that combining emotional support and clinical care will speed recovery, reduce the length of hospital stays and improve the wellbeing for those living with blood cancer. By treating the mind and body as one entity, we are equipping those we work with better cope with diagnosis, treatment, and to look more confidently to the future.
From initial screening offered to all at diagnosis and again, once treatment has started, our team is there for those who may need this support – and their loved ones – in counselling and psychotherapy sessions. Our social worker also provides practical support to help people navigate the financial and day-to-day issues they face.
The psychological impact of treatments for blood cancers is different to those of other cancers. Treatments can involve time in hospital and the need for lengthy isolation from infection, making visiting and social contact very difficult. People also experience a wide range of natural emotions throughout their treatment journey – fear, anger, hopelessness and grief, for example. Our team provides a safe space for honest discussions and helps people develop ways to keep mentally healthy.
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Keeping mentally healthy when you have a blood cancer can be challenging, but there are lots of things you can do to help keep yourself psychologically well. Here, the Leukaemia UK Mind & Body team share top tips they offer to the patients they support
Specialist blood cancer counsellor Philip Alexander explains why talking therapies can form a crucial part of treatment