Eastern Health offers transitional program for cancer survivors

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Eastern Health’s social work department at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre in St. John’s is offering a six-week program for cancer survivors to help them through the transition from active treatment to post-treatment.

The program, titled Cancer Transitions, Moving Beyond Treatment, is designed to provide cancer survivors with support and education about exercise, nutrition, emotional health, well-being and medical management.

 In April 2012, Eastern Health’s Cancer Care Program was awarded $5,000 to initiate a transitional program for cancer survivors through the Provincial Cancer Prevention and Awareness Grant, an initiative of the Department of Health and Community Services.

“Eastern Health is committed to providing cancer patients with quality care and support throughout the various stages of their cancer journey — a journey that does not end once the treatment stops,” said Katherine Chubbs, vice-president responsible for cancer care at Eastern Health.

“As people transition from active treatment to post-treatment, they are faced with numerous questions about their health and well-being and how to get back to living a normal life,” Chubbs said. “This program will provide cancer survivors with both professional and peer support so they can begin a new journey to wellness.”

The program is offered free of charge, once a week for six weeks. Sessions will run from Oct. 30 to Dec. 3, 2012, on Tuesday afternoons at 1 p.m. A followup session will also be held after the completion of the first six sessions on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at 1 p.m.

 Eastern Health says the Cancer Transitions, Moving Beyond Treatment program is one of many supports available to its patients and their families and friends who have been faced with a cancer diagnosis.

Another support program is the Patient Navigator Program in which oncology nurses work closely with a patient and their family to offer guidance throughout all stages of the cancer experience, including tests, treatments and other daily practical challenges.

Other supports available to cancer patients and their families and friends include individual, couple and family counselling, a support group for teenagers coping with the cancer diagnosis of a relative, the Patient and Family Support Fund, and various partnerships with community cancer support groups and government programs.

“Transitioning from active cancer treatment to post treatment is a monumental change for patients and their families and friends,” said Sharon Smith, director of the Cancer Care Program at Eastern Health. “These individuals require supports within the health system and the community to help them move forward. This program breathes life into our Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Strategy, which incorporates a coordinated approach to chronic disease prevention and management supports – providing individuals, such as cancer survivors, with the knowledge to enjoy meaningful, active and productive lives.”

Anyone who would like to learn more about The Cancer Transitions, Moving Beyond Treatment program, or to register, can call Eastern Health’s Social Work Department at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre at 777-7604. 

More information about Eastern Health or its Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Strategy can be found online at www.easternhealth.ca.

Organizations: Department of Health and Community, Family Support Fund, The Cancer Transitions Social Work Department

Geographic location: Eastern Health

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