Learning to live with cancer: the UK experience of a European patient education and support programme


van der Molen Macmillan Cancer Information Officer, The Cancer Resource Centre, PO Box 17, 20–22 York Road, London SW11 3QE, UK.


‘Learning to Live with Cancer’ is a structured education and support programme for people with cancer and their families. The UK programme, now in its third year, is based on the original American ‘I Can Cope’ educational package pioneered by Dr Judi Johnson. The Learning to Live with Cancer programme was developed collaboratively between Judi Johnson and Dr Gertrud Grahn, Sweden. Based on sound educational principles, it has been promoted by the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS). The complexities of an individual’s response to the diagnosis of cancer is well documented. Needs for information and support will change throughout the cancer experience. The Learning to Live with Cancer programme aims to educate patients and families in order that people gain a greater understanding and can explore ways of managing illness better. An 8-week course of 2 h each week provides opportunities for learning, sharing experiences and mutual support in meeting others undergoing a similar experience. Ongoing work, now in progress, aims to develop further Learning to Live with Cancer courses for professionals to facilitate in cancer centres throughout the UK.