bristol centre

bristol centre

bristol centre Hi there
just wondering if anyone has been to stay at the bristol centre and if so did they find it helpful?

It has been renamed Now Penny Brohn Cancer Care.

I haven’t been and am unlikely to. I think there are people who are attracted to their approach and find it helpful and cynics like me who will just find themselves pulling apart faulty logic and dubious science through the whole course.

I’m very sceptical about their diet (refuse to give up dairy products) and find it difficult to accept any form of psychotherapy.

Years ago, I read their website and found a piece of total nonsense in the diet section of their website. They were saying that sugar drained your energy. Now, refined sugar and high sugar foods might not be very good for you, but from a biological point of view, sugar is undoubtly a source of energy! I emailed them with my views and said I was concerned about the qualifications of their dieticians if they were capable of coming up with such rubbish. They thanked me for my comments, agreed their website was wrong and they had rewritten that section of their website but STILL they tried to sell me a course!

Think I’d get more from a short spa holiday.

My cancer support group sponsored me to attend for two nights last year.

It was somewhere nice just to ‘chill out’, be waited on & have some relaxing sessions. What you put into it it, you get out of it. It was good to be able to talk to other cancer patients about your fears, etc. They are vegans & I was pleasantly surprised by the tasty choice of food.

They have now moved to an upgraded premesis & I am seriously considering going back for a 5 day stay. It’s not cheap but, to me, 2 days wasn’t long enough.

Cancer Centre Hi, I attended the five day course at the start of the month and it made such a difference to how I feel about having cancer. The ‘treatment’ is made up of group therapy, individual sessions with a psychotherapist, doctor, nutritionist and healers. We also did art therapy, which I was quite dubious about but had amazing results. I’ve never cried so much and in front of so many people, but I really feel like I got a lot of negative thoughts and feelings out of my system and that I’ve come away with the strength to not only cope with cancer but to fight it with all my power. The food served is entirely vegan and you are encouraged to give up dairy (which I now have done without difficulty) but it’s not something they try to force upon you. In all, I had a wonderful experience and met some really inspirational people who I’ve kept in touch with. At worst, this is a place to be relax, learn to meditate and let yourself be looked after. I would highly recommend it, it’s well worth the money

Hi all
thanks for your feedback. it sounds good. If nothing else just to be looked after for a bit would be nice. And not have to cook. Sometimes its hard to think about yourself when your watching those around you cope so to be somewhere else may make this easier. I’ll see if I can find the money

I think they have some form of financial package for those who are on low income. Why don’t you contact them, explain your situation and ask what help they can give?

Franky I have just read your profile and noticed you are from Scotland. I hope I can help you.

I went to the Bristol Centre in November 2005 - left from Glasgow. I had just finished all my treatment and was feeling pretty low. It really helped me to think more positively and I am still in touch with a few of the ladies I met there. I also use their telephone helpline (which you get access to if you have been on one of their courses) and it has been very helpful. I don’t do dairy, juice every morning, eat organic as much as possible and take a regime of supplements provided by the Centre. However, there is no pressure to do this. There was absolutely no sales pitch. Albeit I no doubt was influenced by Bristol Care I am happy with what I do and am feeling very well in myself.

Yes, we cried a lot. But the bonding between us was quite special and we did manage to laugh now and again. The therapies were what I would describe as a taster and I now know more about what I like and what I don’t like.

The only downside was the cost. However, if you are not able to afford it ask for the Access Funding form. I did and most of the £950 was paid out of Access Funding. From memory I think I managed to put about £300 to the cost.

I could be doing with a “refresher” and may even manage to return some day.

I hope the above is helpful. Feel free to ask me any questions.




What are your objectives? Franky,

If the main things you want are to have someone looking after you for a change and not to cook, then why not book into a nice hotel with spa facilities? The food will certainly be better!

There is no doubt the courses are expensive, so examine the content of the “Bristol Approach” courses and see how much of it would actually benefit you. For example, if you are fairly certain you won’t follow their diet (you mentioned on the Secondaries forum that you tried dairy-free but couldn’t stick with it), then the time spent hearing about it is a total waste.

Also, a major concern of women like us, pondering a mixed course, is that most of the participants will have primary cancer and want reassure that they will survive. How will they react to anyone who is terminal and personifies their worst nightmares?

Maybe give it a go, if someone with secondaries endorses it?


Bristol Centre Hi again

I just wanted to say that the people (I shouldn’t say women because we had one man in our course) I met at Bristol were all at very different stages. From memory, I think there was only one with primary breast cancer and only three in fact with breast cancer. It is a Centre for all types of cancer and there were people with bowel, brain, prostate and Hodgkin’s Disease in my group. I guess it would very much depend who registers for the course. However, I have to say if I had been early stages with no medical negligence I doubt if I would have been interested in attending. I’m also not sure if Access Funding would support such a person.

Like Holey says, I think you need to work out how much the Bristol Cancer approach would interest you. You want to be uplifted by the experience.

As for pamper breaks - if you haven’t tried Stobo Castle, you may like to consider it. They are doing offers on some dates over Febuary. I can thoroughly recommend it.

I’m two years post diagnosed on 7 February and am having a two day break with Best Western Hotel Group who are offering “buy one get one free”.

Good luck.


Hi there
I think it’s a good point to think about benifits of courses. I do feel I know a bit about most of the therapies they look at so maybe I wouldn’t benifit enough to warrent the expense. Perhaps I’ll try a spa break first.

Nice to hear from someone else with local info jeanie. I know of stobo but have never been. that’s a great idea. I checked out your profile too and wonder how things are going now. How have you got on with your case. Has your cancer progressed at all?

SO STOBO Hi Franky

Thanks for asking about my case. I’m still struggling with it. I cannot say too much at the moment for confidential reasons. My GPs deny that I asked for a mammogram which is not helping my case (they only wrote “lumpy but benign” in my clinical notes). Who would have thought they could get off with saying “lumpy but benign” when even an expert cannot say a lump is benign without biopsy. However, they can. The system is fraught against me but I’m determined to go on.

I am campaigning with the Scottish Breast Cancer Campaign to get armpit lumps into the SIGN Guidelines. These are the Guidelines GPs etc use. I’m hoping to hear within the next couple of months that the guidelines have been revised and that there is some reference to armpit lumps. Will keep you all posted on this one.

Re Stobo - it’s great and I’m sure you would love it. They have free workshops throughout the day so don’t feel you have to have lots of treatments. We usually go to a couple of the workshops (yoga, dance etc) then spend the rest of the time in the swimming pool, steam room etc. When I go I usually pay for a room in the Castle which is about £119 for an overnight stay and pamper - this includes all food. The leisure facilities are wonderful. They have some offers on at the moment whereby if you buy one get one 1/2 price. The food is excellent.

So far so good with my cancer and I am not aware of any spread. However, I was only diagnosed in Feb 2005 and I still worry a lot. My oncologist said I was very lucky and my lymph nodes were doing a very good job. I only had 19 lymph nodes under my right arm and 15 had cancer. Had I listened to my GP and waited until the Mobile Screening Unit came to my village in Sept 2007 I doubt very much if I would have been around. Luckily, I took myself off to a Screening Unit when I reached 50 only to be told the bad news.

Whereabouts in Scotland do you live? Do you ever go to the Maggie Centre?



Hi Jeannie
it all sounds very complicated and not great for stress levels I’m sure. I hope it gets resolved soon.
I looked up stobo and am very tempted. It’s only money after all! I’m in south west scotland, (not sure how much we’re meant to reveal) but went to the maggie centre alot when I was getting rads a couple of years ago. I thought it was a great place I think I would use it a lot if I lived nearer. It’s a shame every city doesn’t have one. Saying that my local hospital is small with a new chemo unit and great staff so it’s not as grim an experience as the western in ed.

Stobo sounds great! Franky,

I’m sure you will feel great after a spa break.

In case you want to view some alternatives in Scotland see:

…might pick up a bargain if business is slow. However, Stobo has the reputation as the “Rolls Royce” one though I’ve never been lucky enough to go.


thanks Holey
having a rubbish day so need to have something to look forward too. In a lot of pain from liver. Struggling to get all my meds at the right level so this is the consequence. going in for a full review tomorrow but feeling sorry for myself in the meantime. sometimes I wonder how we all keep going. Just have to I suppose. On a downer today sorry

Bristol Cancer Help Centre Hi Franky

I went to Bristol at the end of my treatment in June 2004. It helped me imensely to accept, deal with and move on with my life since my diagnosis in August 2003 while pregnant. I was devastated that my 2 young children would not remember anything about me, I just wanted a glimmer of hope that I would be ok. I followed the diet for about 6 months but found it difficult to cook 3 different meals each day. I now have 3-4 vegan days a week and enjoy a small amount of animal protien each week. I still eat crap but make sure that it is organic. I am now able to manage my life better and have reduced stress where possible, I am able to relax just by altering my breathing and take time each day to enjoy the things that make me happy. I now live the best day everyday, as I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, heart attack, car crash etc

I found the environment very caring and supportive and spent the whole of the 2nd day in tears. There was a mixture of people on the course as when I did a refresher course in Feb 2005.

I have just looked your profile and just wanted to let you know that I have a friend who was diagnosed with a grade 1 tumour with no spread to lymph nodes, within a year she had secondaries in he bones, liver and lungs. Although she has had a few ups and downs along the way she is living a full and active life several years down the line.

I really hope that you get to go to Bristol and it is an amazing place. Breast Cancer is a very personal journey for everyone, Bristol, coupled with this website, a local support group and several self-help books and aided my mental recovery.

With very best wishes to you
Rebecca xxxxxxx

HI Becks
thanks for your kind response and especially your words of encouragement about your friend. this is the best thing about this sight which I had no idea about before. I was sure I only had a few months at best. Although I know this could still be true the possibility of living longer makes a big difference to me. (obviously!) What a nightmare being diagnosed when you were pregnant but amazing and brilliant that your baby (now toddler) is healthy and ok
kind regards