The Farming Community Network (FCN) has launched a new UK-wide partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support – which will help to improve the support available to those living with cancer in rural areas.

As part of this partnership FCN will be working closely with Macmillan Cancer Support, including raising awareness in rural communities of the signs and symptoms of cancer and building referral bridges to and from Macmillan’s services.

Farmers, farm workers and people living in rural communities can have lower access to cancer services and support due to the nature of their work and rural life in often isolated areas.

Farmers can be particularly at-risk of certain types of cancer – such as skin cancer, prostate cancer, or cancers caused by exposure to carcinogens.

Cancer can impact a family business that may employ many people and can have significant impacts on an individual and their families – including their housing and extended family situation, or immediate welfare issues for livestock.

Dr Jude McCann, Chief Executive Officer of The Farming Community Network, said: “Farmers are an intrinsic part of rural communities, but long working hours and a lack of access to support services can limit opportunities for health checks, and sadly the early signs of cancer may be difficult to identify or missed entirely.

“The sooner people can access cancer interventions and support, the sooner they can start their journey to recovery and remission.

“As well as encouraging early intervention, through this project we also hope to gather ideas in farming and rural communities on what would improve support for those in farming or in rural communities who are living with cancer. A holistic and tailored approach is necessary for people living in farming communities and rural areas that accommodates their individual needs.

“This partnership will create an important bridge between Macmillan Cancer Support and farming support organisations, and has the potential for reaching people with cancer who could otherwise be without support.”

Anton Morgan-Thorne, Engagement Manager at Macmillan, said: “It’s vital that people living with or affected by cancer get the help and support they need at what can be a distressing time in their lives.

“This new partnership with FCN will help Macmillan reach people affected by cancer in rural communities who, in the past, have been less likely to engage with us. The partnership will help us provide financial, physical, emotional and practical support to those who are most in need while raising awareness of cancer symptoms, which is vital when you consider the importance of an early diagnosis.”

  • FCN can be contacted in confidence on 03000 111 999, 7am-11pm, 365 days of the year. Speak to an empathetic volunteer who understands farming life.
  • The Macmillan Support Line is available on 0808 808 00 00, seven days a week, 8am to 8pm.


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