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Cancer - Mike McGovern case study

Photo_Mike_McGovern.jpgMike is a patient and People’s Voice member and Chair of the Merseyside Head and Neck Cancer (HANC) Patient and Carers Group. He also attends the Merseyside HANC Research Forum, where he is supporting a patient with future research projects, as well as the HANC Clinical Network Group (CNG) which meets three times a year at Aintree University hospital.

Through his own experiences being treated for Head and Neck Cancer and his involvement in the Patient and Carers Group, Mike is greatly aware of the challenges patients face both during and after treatment and how this affects their quality of life. At the group, he provides both practical and emotional support to patients, post treatment. He does a great deal of listening and relates individually to each patient or carer as they share their experiences.

Mike is then able to feed back the information he gathers about patients’ experiences and concerns, at the HANC CNG. This is particularly useful for clinicians who, within the context of a regional based unit, can lose sight of the different experiences across such a diverse geographical area.

His involvement has also helped bring about clinical trials. The patient forum was particularly interested in the use of tracheotomies in surgery, and the impact of their use post treatment. A research study around this topic is currently underway.

Mike’s involvement and his willingness to speak publicly about his two diagnoses of mouth cancer and his radiotherapy treatment have been invaluable in supporting HANC research and clinical practice. He has spoken at the International Bi-annual Conference for Head and Neck Cancer and, for several years running, to fourth year students at the Liverpool Dental School, enabling future dentists to appreciate the needs of patients, pre and post treatment.

“I have been a member of the Merseyside Head and Neck Cancer Patient and Carers Group since its inception in 2008. I have the pseudo title of Chair but the group is not based in a strict format, and this relaxed atmosphere enables everyone to interact in a positive way.

“Quality of Life is a massive issue for HANC patients and being able to feed back to clinicians at various levels, be it at the CNG, Liverpool Dental School, or at the Merseyside HANC Research Forum, is essential to provide the best care and support for future patients.

“Within Merseyside I would like to see the NHS raising more awareness of Head and Neck Cancer with the general public, as one of the concerns I have heard from clinicians is the late presentation of patients for treatment.”

Quality of Life is a massive issue for HANC patients and being able to feed back to clinicians at various levels, be it at the CNG, Liverpool Dental School, or at the Merseyside HANC Research Forum, is essential to provide the best care and support for future patients.

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