I was delighted that Cancer card Founder Jen Hardy and chief executive Ian Pirrie were in the audience gallery to watch the debate, which they described as a “proud moment”. I first met Jen in March 2018 when she successfully campaigned alongside women with incurable breasts. cancer and the Breast Cancer Now charity to help give access to the drug Perjeta.

Jen was diagnosed with incurable stage four breast cancer on October 18, 2017, after undergoing a CT scan to find out the cause of her paralyzed vocal cord. As she searched for cancer support, Jen noticed that there was not a single place or online resource that listed the hundreds of free services, support providers, information channels and experiences available to cancer patients. people and their families living with the disease.

It was this realization that prompted Jen, who has a background in computer science, to work to establish Cancer Card, to help create this one-stop-shop, one-stop-shop online for anyone concerned to find the help and support she needs. Cancer Card, launched in May, provides a detailed index of available support services, helping individuals navigate what can often be a messy and complex world.

I know it is incredibly difficult to have difficult conversations with someone with cancer about their treatment journey and indeed the many often personal issues that a wife, husband, mother, father , a sister, a brother, a daughter, a son or a friend wants to pose. . This is where Cancer Card is so wonderful, it recognizes that support needs to reach more than the person living with cancer, but also their partners, family, friends, employers and professionals.

The significance of a cancer diagnosis on an individual’s life is immense, with the potential to make them feel lost, frustrated, tired, isolated or financially disadvantaged when trying to obtain information of a non-medical nature. , but nonetheless essential. At a time when patients and their families need support the most, it can often be difficult to find the right information at the right time, for the right person.

Cancer Card seeks to address this issue through an online support center where people can find valuable information from other service users and access local and national charities and services, including financial assistance, courses exercise, advice and local support networks.

There is no cost to users or charities for the services listed and indeed for local groups it presents a great opportunity to highlight what is available locally in different parts of the country.

It can be difficult to find the right information and advice after a cancer diagnosis, a problem Cancer Card seeks to solve (Photo: American Cancer Society via Getty Images)

The Scottish Government is currently undertaking work on a new Scottish Cancer Strategy, I believe this provides an opportunity to reset and reconsider how support and advice is provided and how, particularly during and after the pandemic, the access has moved online. I hope this new strategy will encompass the Cancer Card and this new approach to providing information and counseling services.

For anyone interested in learning more about the Cancer Map, please visit cancercard.org.uk

Miles Briggs is a Tory MSP for Lothian