When you’re unwell, the little things the people treating you do can mean a lot.
From the way you’re told about your illness to being told what to expect, these things all influence the way we feel about how we’ve been cared for.
Done well, they can make us feel valued, listened to and supported. When they aren’t done so well, they can make us feel anxious, ignored and shake our trust.
Last year, for the second time, Macmillan Wales ran the Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey with the Welsh Government to help us to understand how people treated for cancer feel about their care.
The survey was posted to 11,000 people treated for cancer in Wales in 2015 to ask them for their views on all aspects of their cancer care.
I am delighted that 6,714 people (65%) gave their time to tell us about their care and that we are launching the results today.
What did people tell us?
Overall, people felt positive about their cancer care with 93 per cent rating their care as at least 7 out of 10 (on a scale of 0-10 where 10 = very good), which is excellent news.
97 per cent of people said they had all their treatment options explained to them, which is important in cancer care where there may be various treatments to choose from.
They told us that having a clinical nurse specialist had an overwhelmingly positive impact on their experience and were more positive on 73 out of 74 of the survey’s questions.
But people also told us that there are areas for improvement.
The Wales cancer plan says everyone should have their needs assessed and be offered a written care plan to help them address wider concerns such as finances, emotional support and support groups.
But less than a fifth (18%) of people surveyed said they had a written care plan.
The cancer plan also says every person diagnosed with cancer should be told how to access financial advice and support – yet fewer than half of people (48%) were offered this support.
The survey shows some brilliant examples of cancer care being delivered compassionately in a way that meets people with cancer’s needs.
But it also shows there is work to be done in key areas including the information people are given, their care plans and being taken seriously by their GP when they suspect they could have cancer.
What will Macmillan Wales do with the results?
We will look at the results to highlight areas that are working well which others could learn from and to campaign for improvements where needed.
We will work with the health boards to support them to develop new services and approaches to improve their cancer care.
We will provide learning and training opportunities for Macmillan professionals and staff working with people with cancer.
We would like to thank every person who completed the survey – your experiences will help us to understand what is working well in cancer care in Wales and where things need to improve.