Side by Side: Support for before and after surgery
If you’ve been told your pancreatic cancer can be removed with surgery, or if you’ve already had the operation, our Side by Side support can connect you with someone who has been through it too. Sometimes, just knowing what to expect can be enough to put your mind at ease.
Trained volunteers who have been through it too
Side by Side is a phone service where you can speak to a trained volunteer who has already had pancreatic cancer surgery. We will try and match you with someone who had a similar type of surgery.
A patient’s perspective
While your surgeon can tell you what surgery involves, the volunteers can tell you what it’s like. They can’t answer medical questions but they can offer emotional support and practical tips about how to prepare and recover from surgery.
A flexible phone service
One phone call may be all you need, but you can have further calls if you would like more support from the volunteer over a longer period of time.
Side by Side has helped me get through some very low times. I always feel so much better after the calls. It's a vital service - and one I can't recommend highly enough.
Frequently asked questions
How does it work?
- One of our Support Line nurses will take details from you about your situation and what you would like to discuss.
- Your name, telephone number and brief details about your situation will be shared with a volunteer who will then call you.
- We will ask you what times are most convenient for the volunteer to call you and whether you are happy for them to leave a message if you are unavailable.
- Your volunteer will try to call you within 7 days of you getting in touch.
- You can then arrange to speak to them again at another time if you would like to, or you may find one conversation is enough to answer your questions an provide you with support you need.
What sort of questions can I ask the volunteer?
You can ask whatever you like about their experience of pancreatic cancer surgery. Some of the typical questions are:
- How long did it take you to recover?
- What can I expect after surgery?
- Is what I am experiencing after surgery typical?
- Can I still do the things I used to, like travel abroad?
How often can I speak to the volunteer?
You can speak with your volunteer over a six month period if you would find that helpful and how often in that time frame will really depend on you and your volunteer. Or it might be that one phone call is all you need.
Are my conversations private and secure?
Yes. Calls made with your trained volunteer are confidential and will not be discussed with anyone outside the service. We use a phone system that means your telephone number will not appear on your volunteer’s phone bill, and your contact details will be securely stored by your volunteer and destroyed after your final contact with them.
I can't tell you how wonderful it was to speak to someone who knew what it was like because they'd been through it.