If you work with cancer patients you probably feel, like me, that there is extra pressure to be on top of your game. It’s emotionally and intellectually demanding to work in a field where the knowledge is evolving all the time. There is gradually growing recognition for the role of nutrition in oncology: the 2019 report, ‘Prehabilitation for People with Cancer’, called for greater focus on nutrition, exercise and psychological support to improve treatment options, side effects and recovery, and integrated care is the most promising area of research.
There is a long way to go before those recommendations reach the people at the sharp end of cancer care. In my experience, NHS oncology professionals work tirelessly to delivery the current standard of care, and there is little time to keep up with nutrition and lifestyle recommendations. In my experience patients are rarely advised that they can be an active part of their own recovery. Initiatives like the B-AHEAD trial are encouraging but large scale trials will not deliver the right results: personalised medicine is the way to create the improved survival curves that we desperately need.
I am also shocked at some of the cancer advice that I see online coming out of the alternative and complementary health care community. I’m not surprised that many oncologists roll their eyes when patients talk about diet and supplements. Generic anti-cancer advice fails to appreciate the complex needs of patients with different cancers and at different stages, and don’t even get me started on the subject of ‘coffee and cake’ fundraising events! As a community we need to significantly raise our game.
There is a clear role for nutritional therapists to fill the gap between what the NHS is capable of providing and what cancer patients need. The evidence is there and our clinical training is ideally suited to working in this way.
I’ve studied cancer for 23 years, first as a non-professional ‘survivor’ and then as a dedicated nutritional therapist. After graduating from ION with distinction in 2004, I worked on the ION education team for 5 years (2005-10) and led the Clinical Analysis module (you may even use the questionnaire I designed). I’ve specialised in Breast Cancer since 2015; looking at the evidence it is clear to me that supporting body systems and applying orthomolecular principles can radically shift cancer outcomes for the better.
But… working in oncology is demanding. The research is never ending, the answers are rarely clear, the process is infinitely adaptable, the timescales are always pressing, and individual cases can be harrowing. Towards the end of 2019 I started to feel lonely and overwhelmed. The standards I set myself, and the work I do for each case, mean I can only see a few clients each month but I seem to be working harder and harder. My quality of life and health was suffering for my work and I was finding it harder to switch off. There’s got to be a better way!
Giving up is not an option. If anything, I want to help more people, reach more people and interact with more people. I want to lighten my load and my day. And I suspect there are other practitioners out there with a similar aim. I started to think about working with practitioner groups as well as client groups – a bit of mutual sharing and support. I felt my heart lift.
Perhaps you can relate to the story above? Maybe you are also struggling to keep up and wondering how to make your practice more enjoyable and successful. Perhaps we can help each other?
So I thought I’d start a mentoring group.
Have a Chat
Book a FREE exploratory chat prior to joining the mentoring group to see if it feels right for you.
Join the Group
The Cancer Practitioner Mentoring Group meets once a month on a Monday afternoon for 90 minutes. We discuss case studies, share research and resources, and help each other to be better practitioners. The agenda is flexible but, for example, group members may bring case studies to discuss, or research papers to consider. I host the sessions to provide some leadership and continuity, and can be relied upon to fill the gap if no one has any ideas for discussion! But the general principles is that we all learn from each other.
If you decide to join, and if there’s a space available, I’d ask you to consider a six-month commitment in order to create some continuity. Each 90-minute session costs £50, payable by monthly subscription. You can of course cancel at any time if it isn’t working for you. Group meetings will be happen on Zoom. Numbers will be small (between 6 and 8 members) to create a warm and friendly environment.
You can sign up below but please contact me first to check availability.
Or if you just want to stay in touch for now…
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With twenty-eight years of self-employment behind me, twenty-three years as a company director, business experience in financial, food and manufacturing sectors, five years as a tutor and lecturer for ION, and seventeen years of clinical practice, I am ideally positioned to help you move your practice to the the next level. A fistful of certificates, including a postgraduate certificate in Personalised Medicine, a BSc in Management Sciences, a Nutritional Therapy diploma from ION, and an accredited life coaching qualification means I know my way round the academic world too. I have been mentoring nutritional professionals for many years and have been delighted to see that nearly everyone I have mentored has gone on to make a great success of their career. While this group is not business focussed it will help you to identify areas for development and help you develop much faster than working alone.
I’ve included a testimonial here from Robyn Puglia, now a highly successful functional medicine practitioner, which gives a great feel for the various ways I can help you as a coach and mentor:
“Dawn was one of my favourite lecturers and tutors when I was in college. As well as being extremely knowledgeable about nutrition, her teaching style was really encouraging and dynamic. After a few years of practicing and while making some big changes at work, I knew that I needed a mentor to help me move forward. I immediately thought of Dawn. Working with Dawn has helped me on a multitude of levels.
– She has helped me to really understand what I want from my practice, to understand who my target audience is, and, following on from that, to refine my message and my voice.
– This in turn has really transformed the clients I attract, and the flow of my work. It’s also made prioritising where to spend energy in my business much easier and I’m not wasting time working on projects that I feel like I ‘should be doing’, instead of those that are the most beneficial to me or fun for me.
– Dawn’s style of working is really practical and applicable and at the same time hugely creative, fresh and fun and I always finished our sessions motivated and inspired to do my homework and implement the things she had taught me.
– Dawn also let me draw on her years of business experience, to prepare for and navigate some really tough work meetings, and I wouldn’t have had the positive outcome I did without her support and mentorship in a series of stressful situations.
– Be it with a tricky client, as I’m working on my website, mapping out the next three months or writing a blog post I think I use something that Dawn has taught me or hear her voice in my head at least once every day.
I have already recommended Dawn to other friends and colleagues around me, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to you too.”