A CHARITY which provides professional therapy for people affected by cancer and bereavement has seen a surge in demand since returning to hospitals.

CancerCare has centres in Barrow, Kendal, Lancaster and Morecambe, and the charity’s therapists also go into hospitals to provide support on oncology units across the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

However, in April 2020 the covid pandemic prevented CancerCare from visiting Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to provide support to people receiving chemotherapy and palliative care.

In May last year therapists were finally allowed back onto wards and the demand for services has risen dramatically. In the first month back it had fewer than ten hospital appointments, in June this rose to 53, and then in October and November combined they had nearly 290.

Susannah Cogger is one of CancerCare’s aromatherapists, and she goes into the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General on a weekly basis.

Susannah said that as well as aromatherapy massage being relaxing, it also has powerful psychological benefits.

“While aromatherapy might not be a traditional talking therapy like counselling, we are also there to listen and are there for our clients to be able to offload whatever negative feelings or problems they may be going through.

"During sessions, many clients find they are free to talk about any anxieties and fears they may be reluctant to share with their families and friends so massage can often provide all the benefits of counselling for the mind while also be wonderfully therapeutic on the body.”

Andrea Husband, another Aromatherapist for CancerCare, helps to support end of life patients and the daughter of one of her clients, an elderly lady who died while in hospital, said her support had been invaluable.

Andrea said: “The lady was admitted to hospital with metastatic cancer and she died in hospital a week later. During her stay, she did not want her family to visit every day and they found great comfort in knowing that she had an empathetic therapist to talk to about her fears and wishes. I also visited with the family and was able to reassure them they that their mum had received wonderful care from the staff and found laughter and joy in her final days which they found very comforting.”

To find out more about CancerCare, visit www.cancercare.org.uk