National charity Pancreatic Cancer UK has launched the first regular Live Chat service in the UK, dedicated to those affected by pancreatic cancer.
This service will fill the gap presented by a lack of pancreatic cancer support groups in the UK and complement Pancreatic Cancer UK's existing Discussion Forum. Both provide a place for people to communicate with one another, but the Live Chat service allows users to talk in real-time.
There will be two one-hour live chat's per month; one for patients diagnosed with or living with pancreatic cancer; the other for those who have family members or friends affected by the disease. Each session will have a facilitator and a moderator, one of which will always be a Pancreatic Cancer UK specialist nurse, so that any medical questions put forward during discussions can be answered.
In the future, the charity will also organise Question and Answer sessions with specialist guests such as oncologists and dieticians, so that patients can put forward questions to them.
To utilise the service, users must register with the Pancreatic Cancer UK Discussion Forum. Conversations are not accessible once the chat is over and only those logged-in can see the content whilst it is live.
Anna Jewell, Support and Information Manager at Pancreatic Cancer UK, comments, "We know from our Discussion Forum that people affected by pancreatic cancer want to be able to talk to one another, but also, at times they want to do this in private. We hope that nurses working with patients and families throughout the UK will tell them about this service and encourage them to use it, especially if they enquire about support groups, of which we know there is a real shortage."
Pancreatic Cancer UK is also actively encouraging those affected by pancreatic cancer to set up support groups in their area. The charity successfully assisted with the formation of a group called PAnPAls in Dorset last year and can offer practical information and support to anyone wanting to do the same.