Nurse-led cancer telephone support

Nurse-led cancer telephone support dramatically reduces anxiety for cancer patients undergoing treatment

One of our GiftAider clients Tenovus Cancer Care, has found that its nurse-led telephone follow-up service, significantly reduced anxiety in patients undergoing cancer treatment. The service, which was the first of its kind in the UK, was funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing

Nurses from the Tenovus Cancer Callback service, available to all cancer patients in Wales, made at least three proactive calls to every participant, depending on the needs of the patient.

Gill Webb, from Cardiff, used the service after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She said: “After my surgery I needed radiotherapy and a course of chemotherapy too. Throughout my treatment I was lucky enough to have regular phone calls from Jane on the Support Line. Her gentle voice and understanding comments were a lifeline, sometimes just at the right time.”

Patients found the most valuable aspects of the service to be the access to expert information and advice it provides, with the option to address any questions about their condition, treatment, side effects and any other wellbeing issues. Participants said the service also allowed them to explore ‘trivial’ issues they were reluctant to discuss at the hospital.

Many participants found the Cancer Callback nurses supportive, caring, and empathetic, and reported feeling more able to deal with cancer. Additionally, because the patients had been assigned one nurse for the duration of their treatment, participants developed a rapport and sense of trust, and found discussing sensitive matters much easier.

Dr Rachel Iredale, Director of Cancer Support for Tenovus Cancer Care, said: “Patients could speak to the nurses for as long as they needed to, asking the questions they didn’t necessarily feel comfortable asking in a clinical environment, which in turn lessened their anxiety and made them feel more able to cope with cancer. The nurses were also able to signpost patients to other relevant support services, such as help with financial matters.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, Tenovus Cancer Care can offer help and support. To find out more call the Tenovus Cancer Care free Support Line on 0808 808 1010 or visit