“And the darkest hour is just before dawn.” – The Mamas and The Papas
Thankfully, my memory of the days and weeks after my cancer diagnosis are hazy now – but they always invoke a feeling of being alone. Never have I felt so out of step with everyone around me, watching their worlds whizz by unchanged while mine was imploding. I desperately wanted someone I could talk to who knew more than me about my situation and could help me make a plan.
Luckily, my surgeon and oncologist were warm and caring people but they were also horribly overworked; I felt guilty taking up their time so I kept many of my questions to myself. My breast care nurse had time to talk but she was staunchly conventional in her thinking – and she used to stub her cigarette out on my doorstep before coming in to see me and my toddler so we weren’t really on the same page. Eventually I discovered the Bristol Cancer Centre and a fantastic cranial osteopath but I was more than two years post diagnosis before I felt I was on a personal path to recovery. What I really needed was all these people rolled into one!
In 1999 I enrolled to study nutritional therapy at ION and what I learned made me more determined than ever to become a conduit of information for women going through breast cancer. Over the years I have developed a unique combination of experience as a registered nutritional therapist, life coach and breast cancer survivor, which makes me a powerful partner on the road to recovery, and a safe pair of hands.
As one of the UK’s leading nutritional therapists, my work is based on extensive study, ongoing research and specialist clinical experience. I graduated with distinction from ION in 2004, became an accredited Life Coach in 2009, gained a Postgraduate Certificate in 2017 (with a ‘first’ for my research assignment on breast cancer) and I’m regularly invited as an expert speaker on breast cancer to professional audiences. I have a thriving practice and most of my clients arrive via professional referral, including oncologists and GPs. In 2018 I was invited to give the graduation address at ION — a huge honour — in recognition of the work I’ve done.
I spend my days immersed in the subject of breast cancer: reading the research, following the science, listening to the opinion leaders, challenging the myths, following the advice and supporting the people who have been recently diagnosed. There is so much information and research available and I am uniquely placed to distil the wisdom into powerful, practical and personal action plans.
In the 21 years since my diagnosis supporting evidence for a nutrition and lifestyle approach for breast cancer has become compelling, but it is taking a long time to get that vital information into NHS oncology departments and cancer patients haven’t got time to wait. My goal is to bridge the information gap. A consultation with me condenses twenty one years of survivor experience, nineteen years of study, and fifteen years of clinical experience into a couple of hours of life-enhancing information that may also prove to be life-extending.
“Dawn, I found our meetings inspirational and full of hope. I came to you following a diagnosis of significant breast cancer with spread to the lymph nodes, and felt your own experience coupled with your sense of compassion and empathy helped me enormously. You are able to take a view of the whole person rather than a collection of symptoms and I came away feeling that I could do many things to help promote a positive outcome.”
The 1939 Cancer Act states that cancer treatment and advice about treatment can only be provided by qualified medical professionals, and rightly so. Sadly, the current medical system is not doing enough to explain to people how they can help themselves in addition to treatment. The most up to date research is telling us that supporting your body with tailored nutrition and lifestyle during and after treatment can significantly impact outcomes.
My consultations are designed to show you how to do that in order to maximise your chances of making a good recovery. Nutrition can help to support the body before, during and after treatment to maintain and regain full function. Coaching tends to address the psychological aspects more directly. When combined, these approaches are powerfully synergistic.
My focus is not only on physiological balance but also on supporting you through the psychological aspects of dealing with a difficult diagnosis, and to take more effective care of yourself in the future than you have in the past.
“Thank you, Dawn, for these brilliant notes and our chat yesterday. I felt hugely empowered by it. Thank you so much for setting me on the right course. I know now that I can be well and recover. Everything you’ve suggested is all very do-able and appeals massively to me. I shall keep you posted about progress.”
Please read about how to get started over here or get in touch below.
- Postgraduate Certificate in Personalised Nutrition – Middlesex University/CNELM – 2017
- BANT Registered Nutrigenetic Counsellor – 2017
- Institute for Functional Medicine: Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice – 2017
- ION Short Course: Cancer Nutritional Support before, during and after treatment and beyond – 2015
- Dip. ION (Distinction) Nutritional Therapy – Institute for Optimum Nutrition
- Certified Professional Coach – International Coach Academy – 2012
- BSc (Hons) Management Sciences – UMIST
- 21 year survivor (drug free) of Grade 3, Stage 3, receptor negative breast cancer – underwent lumpectomy, axillary clearance, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
- Nutritionally managed complete remission of Proliferative Verrucous Leukoplakia diagnosed in 2006, without medication or surgery.
- Sixteen years clinical experience working with cancer patients – exclusively since 2016.
- NTCC – Registered with the Nutritional Therapy Council
- BANT – Member of the British Association for Nutritional Therapists
- CNHC – Member of the Complementary and Natural HealthCare Council
As well as writing two blogs, I’ve also published a charity cook book and a ketogenic diet book, The Dissident Diet, which was in the Amazon diet bestseller list for much of 2014. When I’m not writing, you’ll find me in the kitchen cooking for friends and family, in the garden getting muddy, or with my head stuck in a book or research paper learning as much as I can about cancer and longevity.
“Just to say thank you so much for today I drove a different woman home to the one I had brought with me; Mel found you completely inspirational.” Julie – friend (and chauffeur) of client.