“I’m so pleased to be able to have treatment a mile from my home when my local hospital is twenty miles away,” says Sam McBride of her experience with Hope for Tomorrow’s Mobile Cancer Care Unit (MCCU) in Sudbury, Suffolk. Living in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Sam had previously attended the main hospital in Bury St Edmonds, twenty miles from her home.
Sam was first diagnosed with primary breast cancer in October 2007 and subsequently with secondary breast cancer, in 2014. Thankfully her initial treatment at the main hospital was not so frequent, but she has needed weekly chemotherapy since September 2016. “The treatment tires me out,” she says. “Driving the round trip to the hospital in Bury St Edmonds was difficult, so I either used public transport or relied on friends – but as the treatment was during the day and every week, this was quite difficult to organise. It was wonderful when the Unit starting coming so close by.”
Sam has been receiving treatment every Thursday on the MCCU at Sudbury Health Centre since Sept 2016 when the service first started there.
“It’s been a fantastic experience,” she says. “The MCCU is a lovely clean, calm, safe, friendly environment. The nurses are amazing. They put me at ease and are so caring and approachable, with more of a one-to-one feeling than in a hospital. Gavin and Jack, the drivers, are also great!”
Other treatments on the MCCU help relieve the stress for Sam. “My veins are quite small,” she says. “So finding them for blood tests is tricky. On the MCCU the nurses can take blood through the chemo port, which sits under my skin. It’s a much better experience for me.” She sees other people on board having their lines flushed, for example. “Without the MCCU operating locally, all these people would be travelling twenty miles for a treatment that takes just a couple of minutes,” she says. “I’m a huge fan of this service – it’s been brilliant for me.”