We recognise that having cancer can cause a great deal of worry, stress, anxiety and fear. We have dedicated members of staff who will listen to what matters to you and support you through your cancer experience.Support from the Northern Cancer Alliance
Holistic needs assessment
Holistic needs assessment for people with cancer – Information for patients
“For me, the main concerns were around the effects of the chemotherapy.”
We know that cancer diagnosis can hit hard and can feel like your world has been turned upside down.
That’s why we’ve introduced the holistic needs assessment. Or HNA. It’s a checklist of questions about things that might be worrying you.
It looks at needs or concerns you may have, about any area of your life, not just cancer.
From physical and emotional stresses, to worries about practical, financial and spiritual matters.
An HNA is available to anyone living with cancer. Doing one can help you reduce your anxiety levels. Get information and support for any concerns you may have. Prioritise your most important needs and concerns.
Find out what support groups are available in your area, discuss your concerns with a key worker who is usually your clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
You may be offered a HNA around the time your diagnosis, during your treatment, or after your treatment has ended.
You might receive your HNA in the post before an appointment. Be asked to fill one out before you meet with your key worker, or be able to fill one out electronically on a hand held tablet device.
You may also be offered a separate appointment to fill in your HNA.
“The HNA helped me to see what my main concerns and worries were, but also made it easy for me to explain how I felt. My clinical nurse specialist mentioned the HNA to me, and then I received my copy in the post.”
We know your needs can change, you can ask for a HNA at any time if you feel it would help.
A Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) is an assessment and discussion you can have with your Cancer Care Coordinator or Clinical Nurse Specialist. Together, you talk through your needs and concerns. You then agree on a plan for your care and support needs.
It is called holistic because you can discuss any needs or concerns you have about any area of your life. It is not only about the physical symptoms of cancer or the side effects of treatment.
These concerns can be:
- Physical – e.g. Pain, body image, fatigue
- Emotional – e.g. Anxiety, worry, fear, depression
- Practical – e.g. caring responsibilities, transport, and work
- Financial – e.g. energy bills, cost of living with cancer
- Spiritual – e.g. losing faith, meaning or purpose of life
Your key worker can then give you more information, and refer or signpost you to a range of services, to help relieve your worries.
Support from Macmillan charity
The Macmillan website has more information about what you can expect from a HNA conversation.
If you have not had a HNA, please contact your specialist nurse who can navigate your query to one of our cancer care coordinators.Macmillan: Holistic needs assessment information
Cancer Information Centres
The cancer information centres at the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool provide a confidential service for anyone with questions or concerns about cancer. Our trained staff and volunteers can help you to get the information and support you need, when you need it, on a wide range of topics.
More information, contact details and opening times can be found online.
Reducing Your Risk
Making healthy changes can help reduce your risk of cancer. This includes:
- Giving up smoking
- Keeping to a healthy weight
- Eating a balanced diet
- Being physically active
- Limiting how much alcohol you drink
- Taking care in the sun
You can find more information about causes of cancer and reducing your risk on the Macmillan website:Macmillan: Cancer causes and risk factors
Support to reduce your risk
You can contact your GP for more information and support to reduce your risk.
If you are under the care of a cancer team, contact your Clinical Nurse Specialist or Cancer Care Coordinator for information and support.
The Macmillan website has a wide range of information about all types of cancer, including diagnosis, treatments and drugs, as well as advice to help with the different ways cancer may impact your life.
Living well during and after treatment
Living a healthy lifestyle can help you before, during and after cancer treatment. It can be difficult to make changes to your lifestyle when you are coping with cancer. But small changes can make a big difference. Your doctor, nurse or a dietitian can give you advice and support.
The Northern Cancer Alliance has put together this short video about living well with cancer:
Living well with cancer – Information for patients
We understand that being treated for cancer can feel overwhelming at times.
Did you know that whether you’re having treatment at the moment, or your treatment has finished, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can benefit your health and help you feel more able to cope.
Things like eating a healthy balanced diet, that will raise your energy levels and improve your feelings of well-being.
And keeping active, which can reduce the side effects of cancer treatment and can also play an important part in your recovery.
Some cancer treatments can affect how your heart works, which may cause either short or long-term heart problems.
Heart problems may develop during or soon after your cancer treatment – or many years later.
The risk of heart problems depends on the type of and amount of your cancer treatment. So it’s important to take care of your heart by eating well, keeping active and stopping smoking.
Stopping smoking will also mean you’re likely to have fewer side effects during cancer treatment.
If your cancer treatment is causing you to lose weight, eating foods naturally high in energy and protein, or adding energy and protein to everyday foods, can help to prevent or slow down the weight loss.
If the change in your lifestyle, or the side effects of your treatment mean you’re gaining weight, changing your eating habits, eating more healthy foods and reducing your portion sizes can all help you to lose weight.
Eating well, keeping active and stopping smoking, are all ways to support yourself and your wellbeing.
Where will you start?
For more information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during and after cancer treatment, visit www.macmillan.org.uk and look for ‘maintaining a healthy lifestyle’.
NHS websites and apps
Free NHS resources to help you to make a change.
Useful NHS website links
- NHS Live Well – advice about healthy living, including eating a balanced diet, healthy weight, exercise, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol.
- NHS Better Health – free tools and support to help you lose weight, get active, quit smoking and drink less.
Useful NHS apps
- NHS quit smoking app – track your progress, see how much you are saving and more.
- NHS Active 10 – track every step you take! Use it to count your steps, set goals and for tips on boosting activity.
- NHS drink-free days – Live healthier, lose weight and control your drinking.
- NHS Food scanner – Scan your food favourites to reveal healthy and tasty swaps.