No mum should face cancer alone

Cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face. The feelings of isolation and loneliness that many people experience can make it even harder.

That’s why it’s so important to have someone to turn to; someone who’ll listen, give support and offer guidance. Macmillan Cancer Support and Mumsnet mums have been working together to make sure that no mum ever faces cancer alone. By offering access to support when it's needed most, we can reach even more mums like Emma and Sarah, who shared their stories below.


Emma's story

Emma Hardaker, 38, from Surrey was diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2012.

The mum of two had been noticing blood in her stools for some months. Because of her young age doctors weren’t initially concerned and thought the blood, might’ve been a result of haemorrhoids, as she recently had a baby.

Further bouts of diarrhoea sent Emma back to the doctors and tests soon revealed that she had bowel cancer. She had surgery to remove and reattach part of her bowel and in October of last year she began chemotherapy.

Going through cancer can often be an isolating experience "sometimes I feel quite left behind by those whose life is carrying on".

However Emma was not alone. The Mumsnet forum and Macmillan Online Community have been a massive source of support, as well as her Macmillan nurse in helping her deal with the effects of cancer.

"I use the Mumsnet discussion boards for distraction, a reminder that there are other issues out there other than cancer, it’s a welcome escape from the issue that's overwhelmed everything else in my life. And I use the Macmillan Online Community for support and to share experiences about my bowel cancer treatment, there's a lot of comfort and support to be drawn from knowing that you are not alone."


Sarah's story

Sarah Dark, 38, from Oxford was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx (voicebox) in February 2012, just six months after giving birth to her daughter.

Before her diagnosis she had kept losing her voice. She had put this down to pregnancy and the stresses of being a new mum.

Although she was told that the walnut-sized lump would be curable, she would still have to undergo both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She reacted so badly to treatment, unable to eat or drink, that she ended up in hospital for six weeks.

"It was so hard, and I missed out on the early days of bonding time with my baby daughter."

Sarah had a supportive network of friends and family around her, but found it impossible to ignore the sense of feeling physically and emotionally alone because of cancer.

"It was impossible not to feel some sense of being alone, not only was I going through a brutal treatment regime but facing the uncertainty of whether I'd make it to my daughter's first birthday".

Fortunately for Sarah, she was able to draw upon the incredible support of her family, fellow patients, the Mumsnet community and her Macmillan nurses.

"My Macmillan nurses Jackie and Ness were amazing, they were always a friendly face and only ever a phone call away whenever I needed practical or moral support."


Last updated: over 3 years ago