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28 October 2014
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  Inside Out - West of England: Monday February 9, 2004


Helen and Kate by a fridge freezer
Kate (right) advises Margaret how to eat better

Bristol Cancer Help Centre is seen as a centre of excellence in its field.

Its educational courses are so popular, the organisation desperately needs a new home.

The Bristol Approach’ to cancer care combines a range of physical, emotional and spiritual support for those living with cancer.

It has been developed by doctors, nurses, therapists and those with cancer, and uses a range of complimentary therapies and self-help techniques to help people change the way they live with cancer.

It works hand in hand with conventional medical treatment. Pat Pilkington, who co-founded the centre says, "When we started, we were flying, we were working intuitively, but now the research has been done that really demonstrates the connectedness of mind, motion, spirit and body."


"I’ve come away from there feeling strong and very positive."
Margaret Morse

The centre offers residential courses to those living with cancer, where they are able to experience how a wide range of complimentary therapies and self-help techniques can help them.

The popularity of these courses means that the centre is now running out of space to be able to meet the needs of all those who want to come to Bristol.

Pat Pilkington says, "We’ve outgrown this building... Our plans have to include expanding. It’s awful to be saying to patients, ‘you can’t come.’"

Positive results

Margaret Morse (pictured above) recovered from breast cancer, but it returned and spread to her lungs and bones. She believes her diet may have played a part.

Margaret is committed to changing her diet and her whole approach to living with cancer. She recently attended a two-day course at the Bristol Cancer Care Centre to help her do this.

Pat Pilkington
Pat Pilkington, co-founder of the centre

Margaret says, "It’s been excellent, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve come away from there feeling strong and very positive.

"I think the body can heal itself, given the opportunity and given the well-being and the will to live.

"The fact that you are in contol and the nutrition has given me a positive thing to aim for and I hope to live with it rather than die from it."

Professional training

Alongside courses for cancer patient, each year over 500 health professionals and complimentary therapists attend the centre for a range of education and training courses. These include relaxation techniques, nutrition, massage and therapeutic touch.

Kate Cook, an NHS community nurse, recently attended one of the centre’s specialist nutrition courses. "It’s really helped me to use it in my work as a nurse an to bring the good work of the Bristol Care Centre to other areas."

But news of the their approach is spreading, and if Bristol is to continue leading the way in complementary cancer care and training the therapists of the future, they need a new home.


Person giving reflexology
Reflexology is helpful to some cancer patients

The Bristol Cancer Help Centre is the UK’s leading national holistic care charity. It was founded by Penny Brohn, who was living with cancer, and her friend Pat Pilkington.

Their mission was to offer an approach to cancer which involved not only medical treatment but also care for the mind, the spirit, the emotions, the heart and the soul.

This became known as ‘The Bristol approach to cancer care’, and in 1980, The Bristol Cancer Help Centre opened its doors.

More details

For information on residential or training courses, call
0117 980 9500, or see the weblinks section top right of the page.

See also ...

Inside Out: West
More great stories

BBC Health: Cancer guide - financial help
BBC Health: NHS Cancer Care

On the rest of the web
Bristol Cancer Help Centre
Marie Curie Cancer Care

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