Cancer survivor urges people to join forum

Banbridge man Brian Coburn helped found the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum
Banbridge man Brian Coburn helped found the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum

A BANBRIDGE cancer survivor who helped to found a forum contributing to research of the disease has urged others to join.

Brian Coburn, who was diagnosed with Myeloma in 2006, helped form the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum in September last year and said it has proved very effective in bringing together patients, carers and medical staff to discuss research into the disease.

Brian, who spoke to the Leader in recent years about his experience with cancer and the side effects both of the disease and treatment, has been a great advocate of exercise as a huge part of the fight against the illness.

He has previously helped develop research, supported by the University of Ulster, into helping cancer survivors cope with chronic tiredness - often a side effect of their treatment.

Brian said, “Cancer fatigue is very common and it’s very hard to get over. It leaves you very listless and with no energy. You can’t even get out of the chair, you just look at the wall. The thing is, if you do drag yourself out and get into the fresh air and do a bit of walking, it’s amazing how your mood changes.”

And now, as part of the Forum run by Cancer Research UK and Queen’s University in Belfast, Brian said the opportunity for patients and families to increase knowledge in the area.

“I first heard about the forum from my physiotherapist and was very keen to learn more about it,” he said.

“It can be very confusing and frightening for family members when someone is given a cancer diagnosis, but through the forum they can gain insight into their relative’s cancer journey and they can feel more involved.

“The forum officially meets twice a year, but in reality we meet much more than that, as workshops and other events are organised.

“I find it very informative and am delighted to see that doctors are receptive to personal and patient involvement and are listening to patients.

“I consider in the public image there are too many negatives about cancer. There are now a number of encouraging positives, so if you have a concern or interest in cancer come along to the informal Public Information Evening on the 6th and hear about them.”

The next meeting of the forum will be held on Thursday September 6 between 7pm and 9.15pm at Belfast City Hospital Postgraduate Lecture Theatre.

It will feature informations and updates on advances in breast cancer surgery, new discoveries in cancer, and innovations in prostate cancer treatment.

To attend the free event contact Debbie on 028 90263903 or email nictc@belfasttrust.hscni.net.