A new nurse has been appointed to help mesothelioma sufferers thanks to the efforts of a local charity.
The Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund (MKMRF) – part of the British Lung Foundation – is to fund the first ever Mesothelioma UK clinical nurse specialist in the north east.
Having a mesothelioma nurse available means that other families won’t have to go through what we did.Chris Knighton MBE
Working in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Leah Taylor will be in the role for an initial two years to offer support to people diagnosed with mesothelioma in the north east.
Leah will treat patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside and work with other regional teams to improve access to support groups, treatments and information.
Chris Knighton MBE founded the MKMRF in memory of her husband, Mick, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2000 and died seven months later.
Leah, who is based at North Tyneside General Hospital, said: “Having a mesothelioma nurse specialist for people affected by this terrible disease in the north east has the potential to significantly transform the care people receive here.
“For many people the prognosis is very poor however with the right support, care and access to information about new treatments, quality of life for people diagnosed with this disease can be greatly improved.”
“I am honoured to be a part of this new chapter in mesothelioma care and I look forward to working with Mesothelioma UK, the MKMRF and the British Lung Foundation to provide the much-needed support for these families.”
Chris said: “I realised the desperate need for more support for people with mesothelioma after Mick was diagnosed in 2000.
“We had no idea what this cancer was, we were simply told he had six months to live and to go and spend quality time together.
“Having a mesothelioma nurse available means that other families won’t have to go through what we did.
“We still have a long way to go in terms of improving mesothelioma care in this country but I see this as a significant victory for patients in the north east and I know that Mick would be so proud.”
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer of the lung lining caused by exposure to asbestos.
It has a very poor prognosis – most patients will die within months of their diagnosis and fewer than one in ten will survive three years.
Mesothelioma nurses perform the invaluable role of providing care and guidance to patients, allowing them to have access to specialist care and information about this devastating disease.
There are currently only six mesothelioma clinical nurse specialists in the country.