How a podcast is empowering people with cancer

Caroline Tweedie filming a podcast episode
Cancer nurse specialist Caroline Tweedie launched and hosts the Patient Cancer Podcast series [Gateshead Health NHS Foundation trust]

An NHS-run podcast for people who have cancer is coming back, following a hiatus due to strikes and pressure on the workforce.

The Patient Cancer Podcast was launched in 2021 by the NHS in Gateshead to help communicate with patients during the pandemic lockdown.

Episodes cover topics such as lifestyle changes, real-life experiences, as well as new research and developments.

Podcast guest Nicola George, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, said: "Even if your story touches one person, you win."

Ms George, 44, from Hebburn, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 40.

She shared her experience of living with cancer as a mother and business owner on an episode of the podcast.

Nicola George
Ms George said recording the podcast was "almost like a therapy session" [Nicola George]

"It was really empowering for me, to not only know that I was helping people listening to the podcast, but for me to be able to talk through it in my own time, to feel listened to," Ms George said.

She said people contacted her after listening to her episode and told her she had inspired them.

Ms George said: "I've got grandchildren now that I've been able to welcome into the world, my business has grown.

"To be able to feel as though I give people that hope, is amazing."

'Very adaptable'

Cancer nurse specialist and host Caroline Tweedie said podcasting was an ideal outlet for cancer care because the podcasts could be changed as new guidance comes out.

"It's very, very adaptable," Ms Tweedie said.

"It's personalised information," she said, adding: "It's not a leaflet, it's professionals and patients talking from the heart about their own experiences."

Caroline Tweedie and Emily Turnbull filming a podcast episode
Specialist breast cancer nurse Emily Turnbull has also shared her expertise on the podcast [Gateshead Health NHS Foundation trust]

Another podcast guest, specialist breast cancer nurse Emily Turnbull, said recording was a little "unnerving" at first.

"It's strange because we're so used to speaking one on one with patients, but, for patients to get that information in the comfort of their own home, it was really good to be able to offer that."

Service line manager at Gateshead Health, James McCourt, said: "The series will continue to cover a range of topics across our NHS services and help us to be more accessible to a wider range of people, which helps us in working towards reducing health inequalities in our community."

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