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Our cancer experience: health professionals share their stories and offer advice

Being diagnosed with cancer can give you a unique perspective on care and two nurses and a breast surgeon share their experiences
Picture is an illustration of a woman in nursing uniform touching an image in a mirror of herself wearing everyday clothes. Two nurses and a doctor share their experiences of having cancer and offer a unique perspective on cancer care

Being diagnosed with cancer can give you a unique perspective on care and two nurses and a breast surgeon share their experiences and advice

  • Direct, spoken communication preferred to printed information
  • It’s okay to show emotions – patients don’t expect you to be superhuman
  • Mind your language and your non-verbal cues

Illustration: David Mitchell

Healthcare professionals diagnosed with cancer face many challenges, some of which can be different from those faced by patients with no expert knowledge. Supporting other health staff who have cancer is an opportunity to reflect and gain insight that could improve the care you give.

Dorthe Swaby-Larsen was a nurse consultant in emergency care at a London hospital when she was diagnosed in 2014 with acute promyelocytic leukaemia, a rare form of the disease affecting only about 200 people in the UK each year. She

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