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Cancer Quality of Life - Andrea's Story

10th December 2020

My name is Andrea Partridge and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Being diagnosed made me reflect and think about what was happening to my life. Undergoing treatment influenced my life a lot, because everything was taken away from me, including some of the simplest things about being a mum to my nine-year-old daughter - such as being able to take her to school and make meals.

I very quickly found that I didn't have a great quality of life. It made me reflect on what was important to me, which having that sort of diagnosis does.

As soon as I finished my treatment, which was in the May, I got married in August and in September I flew over Australia with my family, to see my brother. He'd lived there for seven years and not once had I thought about going and spending time with them. I've been there four times now. Having cancer has impacted my life and the decisions I make.

I've used those experiences to make a decision on what I want to do with my career. I now have a job supporting other people affected by cancer in my role as Service User Involvement Coordinator at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (opens in new window). I work with patients, their families and loved ones to help make a difference to the services that are offered to us within cancer. I can see the value in that and the importance of being able to make a difference - and having my voice and their voices heard, and it making a change for the better. That is really important to me.

My quality of life is so different now. I live healthily, I spend time with family, creating memories and I have a lot to thank because of the experience I had. It's given me so much more than I ever thought I would have and I live life to the fullest now.


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Transcript - Andrea's story

My name is Andrea Partridge and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. It made me reflect and think about what is happening to my life now, through this diagnosis.

Treatment influenced that quite a lot because everything was taken away from me.

The simplest things about being a mum to my nine-year-old daughter at the time, to being able to take her to school, make meals and live.

And I very, very quickly found that I didn't have a great quality of life. It made me reflect on what was important to me, which having that sort of diagnosis does.

As soon as I finished my treatment, which was in the May, I got married in August, and in September, off I flew to Australia with my family, to my brother. He'd lived there for seven years and not once had I thought about going and spending time with them, and I've been there four times now and it's impacted my life, the decisions I make because of having that cancer.

It's great now because, even doing the job that I do, being the Service User Involvement Coordinator at the hospital here, means that I've used those experiences to make a decision on what I want to do with my career, and having cancer has impacted it so much that I work with patients, their families, and loved ones to help make a difference to the services that are offered to us within cancer, and I can see the value in that, and the importance of being able to make a difference, and having my voice and their voices heard, and it making a change for the better, and that is so valuable, so important.

My quality of life is so different now, I live healthily, I spend time with family, creating memories and I have a lot to thank because of the experience I've had, and it's given me so much more than I ever thought I would have, and I live it to the fullest now.

Quality of life means different things to different people, but it matters to everyone

More people are surviving cancer than ever before - but living with cancer, and the effects of its treatment, can have a negative impact on people’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing. Public Health England (opens in new window) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (opens in new window) have launched a nationwide Cancer Quality of Life Survey (opens in new window) to help us understand what matters to patients.

From December 2020, all patients diagnosed with breast, prostate or colorectal cancer in England will be invited to complete the survey 18-months after their diagnosis. People with other cancer types will be included from July 2021 onwards.

The information collected from the survey will help us to work out how best to support people living with and beyond cancer. Only by monitoring quality of life, using a consistent assessment point with nationwide coverage, can data be made available to help improve care across the NHS. 

We want to encourage as many people as possible to complete their survey so that the information collected fully represents our cancer population. 

Find out more about the Cancer Quality of Life Survey