A SPECIALIST service has provided support to more than 4,000 Forth Valley cancer patients and families over the past 10 years.

Originally set up as a pilot project, the Macmillan One to One service is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The community-based team behind the service started working a decade ago on a project which has been so successful, it became a permanent service fully funded by NHS Forth Valley.

The team receives referrals from oncology teams, other health and social care services as well as from the third sector.

They provide valuable psychological, practical and social support to people affected by cancer, liaising mainly with the Oncology Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, but also with oncology teams in other locations such as the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and the Edinburgh Cancer Centre at the Western General Hospital.

Jane Niblo, manager of the Macmillan One to One service in Forth Valley, believes a personal touch is most effective when it comes to working with patients.

She said: "Patients feel that when they see us in their homes, they can ask us any difficult questions.

"Many people feel overwhelmed after diagnosis and treatment and are worried for the future and their families.

"They have never experienced anything like this before and it can be very traumatic and overwhelming for them.

"We can help normalise some of their concerns and reassure them that people in similar positions often feel exactly the same.

"With more and more people surviving cancer and living with the disease as a long-term condition, it is vital that we begin building cancer care teams which reflect these needs."