Cancer left Helen struggling to make meals and get around the house

Former breast cancer patient Helen Thewliss, 67, from East Kilbride didn’t know where to find support when she was diagnosed with cancer.

She said: “I had to rely a lot on my friends and family to help me clean the house and I lived on ready meals or frozen meals from my family because I was too tired to cook.

“I was made redundant and had to spend most of the money putting in a walk in shower because I couldn’t get into the bath. I had problems getting about on my own, I had financial problems and I had emotional problems.

“Someone did give me a number for a breast care nurse but I didn’t call to ask for help because I just felt that it would be ungrateful. My life had been saved and I felt like it was up to me now to just get on with things.  Most of problems weren’t medical anyway.

 “I think because most people don’t realise how cancer affects people, when they go through it themselves, they wonder what’s wrong with them and why they can’t cope.

“There can be a perception that once your treatment is finished, that’s it. You’re fine. But it’s not like that at all. It was a very long time before I felt close to normal again and even now, years on, I still have some problems as a result of the cancer.

“It would be such a good idea if someone sat you down and asked what help you needed and pointed you in the right direction.

“As well as helping people find out about the help out there it would also send the message that it’s normal to need support after the end of your treatment, because I didn’t realise it was and felt very ungrateful for still having problems.”

Email your election candidates for the Scottish Parliament vote on May 5 and ask them that if they get into power, they’ll make sure every cancer patient is offered a full assessment of all their needs and directed to the right support services.