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Bristol Cancer Help Centre Wins Healthcare and Medical Research Award

The Bristol Cancer Help Centre, the UK�s leading holistic cancer care charity, has won the Healthcare and Medical Research category of the prestigious Charity Awards 2003. Chief Executive Christopher Head and Director of Therapy Helen Cooke RGN, MA collected the coveted award at a glittering awards ceremony held in London on the 19th June.

The Bristol Cancer Help Centre has pioneered the world-famous Bristol Approach to cancer care. Based on the science of Psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI), this Approach uses a unique combination of complementary therapies and self-help techniques to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support to people with cancer and their families.

The Charity Awards are the major awards scheme to recognise excellence in the management of charities, acknowledging the outstanding achievements of charities from across the UK.

The Charity Awards judges have recognised the excellent work the Bristol Cancer Help Centre has undertaken in evaluating how effective the Bristol Approach is in improving quality of life for people with cancer.

The Centre has worked in collaboration with Sheffield and Bristol Universities and the Cavendish Centre, on the development and use of a method of evaluating the results of complementary cancer care. Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (or MYMOP), as this method is called, has since been adapted and refined to further reflect and be sensitive to the experience of people with cancer.

MYMOP involves rigorous assessment of user�s experience (people with cancer and supporters) of the Bristol Approach. Through analysis of response forms completed voluntarily by participants attending two and five day Bristol Approach courses the charity can measure the impact of its programme. This method has been successfully used by the Bristol Cancer Help Centre since 2000 to collect and assess patient data, and is demonstrating how the Bristol Approach is effective in helping improve quality of life for people with cancer.

As Chief Executive Christopher Head, who is working to spread use of consistent evaluation amongst complementary cancer care and support organisations, explains:

�Twenty-three years of anecdotal evidence from thousands of people with cancer had already given us a strong degree of confidence that the Bristol Approach makes a significant difference to the way people live with cancer, by helping people to cope with the terrible stress and fear a diagnosis can bring.
�The Centre has long been determined to develop a scientifically accepted evidence base as to how individual therapies and techniques used as part of the Bristol Approach help participants to better manage the challenges of living with cancer. Both professional expertise and personal experience of cancer need to inform research and evaluation, so we are delighted to have collaborated with Sheffield and Bristol Universities and the Cavendish Centre to develop a means of scrutinising the efficacy of our Approach that is both sensitive and effective.�

Helen Cooke Director of Therapy adds:

�This will help many more of our colleagues in the NHS to gain a clear understanding of user experience of the Bristol Approach, and to see the benefits to cancer patients of using our Approach hand-in-hand with their conventional medical treatment. We already train over 500 health professionals and complementary therapists a year in how to use this Approach in their work.
�Through MYMOP evaluation we are gaining good quality input from Bristol Approach participants on what is most helpful to them. This information helps us to continue to improve and develop the support services we provide to people with cancer and their families. It is clearly demonstrating that improving quality of life and gaining a greater sense of wellbeing is a valid and extremely important outcome for people affected by cancer.�

The Charity Awards programme is organised by Charity Finance magazine, and sponsored by The Leadership Trust. The distinguished panel of judges for the 2003 awards included Andrew Hind, chief operating officer of BBC World Service; Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross; and Heather Lamont, editor of Charity Finance magazine.

Daniel Phelan, organiser of The Charity Awards 2003 said:

�Awards are given to those charities whose excellence in charity management will inspire others, and from which other organisations will learn.�.

Ends

  • For more information about Bristol Cancer Help Centre please contact:
    Clare Benjamin, PR Manager on tel: 0117 980 9515 or
    email: cbenjamin@bristolcancerhelp.org

  • For more information about the Charity Awards 2003 please contact:
    Theresa Ely or Martyn Evans at Origin Communications on 020 7377 9911 or
    email: theresa@originuk.com

Notes to editors

  1. The Bristol Cancer Help Centre was founded in 1980 by the late Penny Brohn a woman living with cancer, and her great friend Pat Pilkington MBE, to support people living with cancer and those close to them. It is the UK�s leading holistic cancer care charity that has pioneered and specialises in the Bristol Approach to cancer care. This Approach provides a unique range of physical, emotional and spiritual support to help people to change the way they live with cancer.

  2. Bristol Approach residential courses at the Centre provide people affected by cancer with a range of complementary therapies and self-help techniques, including practical guidelines on nutrition, to help manage the day to day challenges a diagnosis brings. The charity also offers information and support through its National Telephone Helpline service, and the Cancerpoint programme enables people with cancer in the Bristol area to access the Bristol Approach through individual appointments with the Centre�s therapy team.

  3. The Centre�s internationally respected Bristol Approach works hand in hand with conventional medical treatment and is delivered on residential courses by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and complementary therapists experienced in working with people with cancer.

  4. The charity also works to integrate a holistic approach into mainstream cancer care, and to develop good practice in the field of complementary cancer care, training over 500 health professionals and complementary therapists a year in how to use the Bristol Approach in their work. This year the Centre�s new Certificate In Working With People With Cancer will give experienced complementary therapists a thorough grounding in the impact of a diagnosis and how to develop and use their skills to better support patients.

"This will help many more of our colleagues in the NHS to gain a clear understanding of user experience of the Bristol Approach, and to see the benefits to cancer patients of using our Approach hand-in-hand with their conventional medical treatment."

Helen Cooke, Director of Therapy, Bristol Cancer Help Centre.