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A Message from C-Side’s Chair

For some 2023 has been a difficult year with the frightening diagnosis of bowel cancer. For others 2023 has been a more optimistic year where treatment has been successful and the most recent scans and blood tests have confirmed the all clear.

For all of us, we are not alone in this fight. We are thankful for the professionalism and dedication of NHS doctors, nurses, radiologists, health care assistants and countless other staff who work tirelessly to help us cope with the daunting treatment programmes. Organisations such as Macmillan and Bowel Cancer UK can give us further support and information about our cancer.

Although we at C-Side are not cancer professionals, in our own way we are there to support those that need it, as we have all personally been affected by bowel cancer, as cancer sufferers, cancer survivors, or as family members and loved ones of those who have or who have had bowel cancer.

I’d like to end by wishing all members past, present and future of C-Side a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2024.


Compassion in Dying

It is a kindness to oneself and to ones loved-ones to consider end of life issues.

Making clear how physical assets are to be distributed after you have gone is relatively simple. Perhaps a more important aspect to end of life planning  is to establish well ahead how and in what circumstances one might wish ones medical life-support to end in the event of loosing the mental capacity to make decisions for oneself. It is unfair to expect relatives and friends to make these decisions without knowing how one would have wished them. Writing an Advance Decision (a.k. the Living Will) document is straightforward using the guidance provided by organisations such as Compassion In Dying. Click on the above logo or on this link for more information.

Faster Diagnostic Standard (FDS)

Since late 2021 in the world of colorectal and other cancers there has been a thing called the “Faster Diagnostic Standard (FDS)”.

This aims to reduce the time to 28 days from GP referral to specialist diagnosis for at least 75% of patients. It’s like the front end, or first stage, of a sequence of actions and events which NHS England calls a “pathway”.  This period has to include: histological analysis, CT scan, blood tests and MDT discussion. You can read more about the FDS and its benefits from NHS England by clicking on the NHS England logo or just here.

But remember the target is to be met for “at least 75% of patients” – since it’s introduction FDS has never met the 75% target – so don’t hang out the flags yet!  Thank goodness someone is looking at the results – and not just at the  rhetoric.

Cancer Research UK has some figures. See here.

Patients will welcome changes to the old fashioned two-week wait target, which was solely concerned with getting a first appointment with a specialist within that period of time. Read more about this here.



Our Thanks to the Harmony Choir

C-Side was overjoyed to receive a substantial donation from the Harmony Community Choir of Portslade. Here is a copy of the letter of appreciation sent by our chairman, Steve Tedman.



The choir is hosted by the Portslade United Reform Church, you can find out more about them from their website, here

A Letter from Denise Savage

Friends of C-Side will be very pleased to hear that Denise and Stuart Savage are very much alive & kicking and taking advantage of the time made available since Denise decided to step away a little from C-Side earlier in the year. Attached below is the copy of an open letter she sent to C-Side describing her thoughts. Since Denise and Stuart are foundation members of C-Side, her recollections & remembrances included here come as close as possible to an official history of our support group.

Right from its begining Denise took charge of C-Side and was principal amongst those that shaped its personality & character; notwithstanding her own, not inconsiderable, medical health challenges she helped C-Side achieve so much. Denise would want it said that she was much aided in this by the support from husband Stuart – her self-styled “driver & bodyguard”.

Dear C-Side Friends,

I felt I left you all at the Christmas party in some haste without acknowledging the big part that C-Side and its members have played in my life. I wanted to jot down a few thoughts now that Christmas is over and Marilyn has kindly offered to read them out for me. It is impossible to leave an organisation, of which I have been a part since September 2012, without some real feelings of regret. It has had so many lovely members – some have come and gone, and I remember them all fondly. We have achieved so much too! Some of you will remember the whole day conference in the Audrey Emerton Building opposite the Brighton Hospital; the Awareness Raising Day at Hollingbury ASDA; our close work with the Clinical Nurse Specialists, especially Gill Hilton and Sarah Back; the many guest speakers (like Jeremy Clark, the Consultant Bowel Specialist and the wonderful Helen Bracey with her interactive bowel apron)); the Cocktails and Mocktails fundraising evening for Colonostomy UK and of course the many conversations we have had between ourselves. Perhaps that has been the biggest achievement of C-Side – we have shared, laughed and cried our way through each others’ cancer stories in such a supportive way. I’m sure that will continue. But we are not just a meet and chat group. In the past we have had a definite impact on practice and procedures in the hospital. Our opinions have been sought on many issues and have informed many an official hospital leaflet. Perhaps our biggest achievement has been the influence we had on the 5-year plan following surgery and in the changing practice at the Cancer Clinic, which now has nurse run clinics twice a week, where results of surgery treatment plans can be discussed, rather than being left to the consultants. These were as a direct result of C-Side’s input. Special thanks has to go to Mark and Paul Danieletto. C-Side was Mark’s big achievement when he was still a CNS, and Paul was with us on the committee and as catering manager until his death last year. I want to end with some really good news – my last CT scan was clear, and if my next CT scan in December is also clear, I will be discharged. It will have been 13 years of Bowel Cancer. I can only hope that you all remain positive and have the kind of love and support that Stuart and the rest of my family have given me. There can be life after cancer! Love to you all. I shall visit you, of course and hope that C-Side continues to thrive under the chairmanship of Steve.

Good luck!



Plant Based Diet Cuts Bowel Cancer in Men by 22%

Men can cut their bowel cancer risk by more than a fifth by eating a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, a new study has suggested.

Researchers found that men who ate the largest amounts of healthy plant-based foods had a 22 per cent lower risk of bowel cancer compared to those who ate the least.

However, there was no link between a similar diet and the risk of bowel cancer for women, the study said.

It involved 79,952 men in the US as well as 93,475 women.
Published in BMC Medicine, participants were asked how often they consumed certain foods and drink from a list of more than 180 items. They were also asked about portion sizes.

Those involved in the study could tick that they consumed each food or drink item “never or hardly ever” to “four or more times a day”.

Food groups were classed into “healthy plant foods”, which included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, legumes like lentils and chickpeas, tea, and coffee; “less healthy plant foods” such as refined grains, fruit juices, potatoes, added sugars; and “animal foods” including animal fat, dairy, eggs, fish or seafood, and meat.

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C-Side Is On The Move!

Starting from our November 24th Christmas Lunch C-Side will be holding its meetings and other events at the House Project Centre located at 168 South Coast Road, Peacehaven BN10 8JH. We are where the pin is, below

Access to the rooms is via the foot-path to the right of the shop or via the House Project Centre’s own car park, accessible via Arundel Road and Bolney Avenue on the north side of the South Coast Road. There is also a free car park on Steyning Avenue. For those coming by bus from Brighton or Seaford you should use the 12 or 12A and the Bramber Avenue stop. The nearest stop for the 12X service is Roderick Avenue.

Stoma Skin Health & Lifestyle Roadshow

The Stoma Team of University Hospitals Sussex invite you to a
Stoma Skin Health & Lifestyle Roadshow

“Stoma care products are tailored to your needs and delivered free of charge, no matter where you are – whether you’re at home or on holiday”.


“Dansac products are developed to support the quality of life for people living with a stoma. Our products are easy to use and provide security, comfort, and discretion”.


“Protecting peristomal skin means using products that provide a good seal around the stoma and promote skin health. Hollister uses the unique combination of security and skin health to design skin barriers that help maintain healthy skin”.

(Click on any of the above logos to go to the company websites)

When : 14:00 to 16:00 on November 9th 2022
Where : Malmaison, The Waterfront, Brighton Marina, BN2 5WA

The Ostimate’s Kitchen: Home delivery service Fittlworth, in conjunction with Colostomy UK, have created a nutritional guide and recipe book to help ostimates enjoy a healthy and varied diet. Fittleworth have worked closely with nutritionist Laura Coster Bsc (Hons) to create this guide to support ostimates and also French chef Sylvain Gachot to create unique recipes that have been adapted to suit a typical ostomate’s requirements. There will be a demonstration and tasting session.

The latest inovative products from Dansac and Hollister will be shared highlighting the importance of security & skin health.

To confirm your attendance, please
call: 01273696 955 ext. 64215 or

Access and Parking (free) via Bridge on Level 6a of Marina multi-storey car park.
Light refreshments available.




Deborah James

There is nothing much that can be added to what so many others have already said on hearing the news of the death of this valiant young woman.

She devoted the last years of her brief life to raising awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer despite knowing that for her, as for far too many others, her bowel cancer diagnosis came too late.

We are reminded that despite the many and considerable advances that have been made in recent years, there are still great gaps between the expectations and reality of what medical science can achieve in cancer treatment and avoidance. For a long time to come public awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer will remain a key strategy.

We owe Deborah James such a lot for lending her last years to such a valuable cause; this debt can be best repaid by redoubling our efforts to help, as she did, to “raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer”.