The Big C: “the need to talk”

According to official figures, some 800,000 people are currently living in France with a diagnosed cancer. Such a medical verdict is hard to take and it’s a relief to share shock and anxiety with sympathetic listeners. Juliet Young (pictured) who’s been involved with counselling English-speaking patients for many years says: “Those who’ve been diagnosed with cancer need assistance in coming to terms with their physical condition and at the same time in dealing with the psychological impact of the diagnosis. And then there are the carers – family and friends – who can become stressed and exhausted. They need to talk, too.” These points are echoed by Lodi van’t Hof of Cancer Comfort International which helps sufferers in and around Monaco: “We’re there to listen when people need to talk about their situation, and for some that can be a desperate need on occasion.”

We’ve just received an update on the work of Cancer Support France, a nation-wide counselling service in English, which hopes to establish a functioning network, integrating existing groups, serving anglophone expats in all regions. As founder Linda Shepherd puts it, “One of the worst things is to be or to feel isolated with your cancer and your fear and uncertainty.”