Nadine Foggon, Quality Improvement Lead and Breast Cancer Service User Rep
Hello, my name is Nadine Foggon. I am 45 years old and I work as Quality Improvement Lead across the Northern Care Alliance (NCA). I have worked in the NHS for over 20 years, and for most of my career I have worked across all NCA sites, CCGs, Manchester University Trust and also at Tameside Acute Trust in a variety of project, operational and general management roles before moving into Quality Improvement. I live in Salford with my husband James and our two young children Jamie and Sophia.
In September 2017, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. At the time my children were 7 and 3 years of age. The type of cancer I was diagnosed with is called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Grade 3, Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, Triple Negative, Hormone Insensitive. This news rocked my world. Seven months of rigorous treatment followed including countless investigations, 12 Chemotherapy sessions at The Christie, Surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital, 15 Radiotherapy sessions at The Christie at Salford and a never ending number of doctors and hospital appointments. During this time I lost my long blond hair, and became quite unwell due to the side effects of the treatment. I consider myself extremely lucky that the treatment has worked and that I have been in remission since May 2018.
During my illness I became aware of the work Breast Cancer Now do in support of women who are affected by Breast Cancer. I attended a Breast Cancer Now Moving Forward Patient Programme, and it was at this event where I was told about the Younger Women Together event facilitated by Breast Cancer Now for women aged 20-45 who have been diagnosed with primary breast cancer in the last three years. I attended the event in January 2019 and had the pleasure of meeting a group of approximately 40 inspirational women, all affected by Breast Cancer.
During 2018, I also had the opportunity, through MacMillan, to become a patient representative on both, the Salford Royal Hospital Cancer Recovery Package Personalised Care and Support Steering Group, and the MacMillan NCA Living with and beyond cancer communication working group. In addition I was given the opportunity to become a patient representative on The Christie Cancer Recovery Package User Involvement Team and the Greater Manchester Breast Cancer Small Community. My involvement in these groups and working with teams of healthcare professionals who are delivering cancer care and support to patients and carers, has meant that I was able to feedback my experience of my journey and through this inform, influence and shape the provision of services.
In February 2019 I discovered some more lumps in my breast, and once again underwent a series of investigations. Thankfully, the results came back benign. I continue to work hard on rebuilding my physical and mental stamina whilst dealing with a number of long term side effects.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, one person is diagnosed every 10 minutes. 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Over 55,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year, and every year around 11,500 people die from breast cancer in the UK. Thanks to research, more people are surviving breast cancer than ever before, and breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK. Almost 9 in 10 women survive breast cancer for five years or more. But for many the overwhelming emotional and physical effects of the disease can be long-lasting.
My experience, and with this knowledge, it motivated me to challenge myself, but more importantly give something back. I wanted to raise awareness about the disease and raise funds to support research and the improvement of services for women in the same position. Working in the NHS for the NCA, I also felt that this would be a great opportunity to raise awareness for our patients and also staff affected by Breast and other cancers.
So, on the 15 June 2019 together with two other ladies, I took part in the 10 mile Pink Ribbon Charity Walk for Breast Cancer Care in Chatsworth. It was going to be a challenging walk which would take us cross country, together with hundreds of other participants. The route sent us up and down hills, across fields, through woods and even got us to climb over rural stone walls and cattle gates. It was an incredibly rewarding experience. Being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing aggressive treatment has been like running a daily marathon. So, I kept telling myself that I can do this and help the cause. I raised £275 for Breast Cancer Now.
My experience has understandably led me to re-evaluate my life. Besides my family being my biggest priority, I am even more passionate about improving the quality of services for our patients and also our staff, of which there are now over 17500 in the NCA. The Patient, Family, Carer Experience, as well as the Staff Health & Well-Being and Experience agendas are gaining more and more importance and momentum, and I am proud to be in a position to be part of this.