Life After a Cancer Diagnosis
18 May 2016 – International Cancer Survivors’ Day is celebrated in the first week of June annually. This day is meant to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality. CANSA honours all cancer Survivors (anyone who has ever heard the words “You have cancer”) and hopes to celebrate this occasion with them.
“CANSA wants to go beyond just celebrating this day with cancer Survivors, it’s to share with Survivors all the ways in which CANSA can help them during their cancer journey. We have many Survivor programmes in which they can get involved,” says Gerda Strauss, CANSA Head of Service Delivery.
Survivor Support Groups
Support groups are one of the service offerings that CANSA provides to cancer Survivors. Strauss adds, “Our active support groups connect patients, long-term cancer Survivors and their loved ones with others who have ‘been there’.
Group members share their insight; provide emotional support, understanding, hope and inspiration with fellow group members.” Read more about our other service offerings…
Albert Kleintjies was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and by 2009 his cancer had gotten very aggressive. “I was told I had three months to live. Death seemed imminent.”
All of that changed when, four years later (still alive) he helped form the Westridge Cancer Survivors and Supporters Group as part of the CANSA Cape Metro Care Centre.
“As a sufferer, I was living to die, but as a Survivor, I am dying to live. I was pleasantly surprised that instead of finding a whining, moaning bunch of people, I found this vibrant, joyous and encouraging group.”
“Cancer is no a longer a death sentence, it’s for many of us a means to experience life in abundance and appreciate every aspect of life. Thank you to CANSA Cape Metro, we as Survivors appreciate their toil and selfless support in extending and availing their resources to the betterment of quality of life, for us,” adds Albert.
Another testament to the support service that CANSA staff offer to cancer Survivors, is shared by Tania Naudè (50). Tania was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36, and sought some care and support from her local CANSA Care Centre in Kimberley.
Tania explains, “The staff are now more like friends than anything else. Since I was diagnosed they walked this journey with me from day one. They were there explaining to my husband and I, the arduous journey that lay ahead and the support they could offer us to make it easier. They were there helping me fit a prosthesis after my first mastectomy, and then again six years later when I lost my second breast due to a recurrence of the cancer. I’m ever grateful to the wonderful CANSA staff that helped ease this burden of cancer.”
Online Support Groups & Programmes for Survivors
CANSA also has various online support platforms offering support, receiving and providing encouragement from fellow members and sharing stories:
- Facebook Group: Champions of Hope – CANSA Survivors for cancer Survivors
- Facebook Group: CANSA Caring for the Carers – for caregivers helping cancer Survivors (patients)
- Facebook Group: CANSA – TLC specifically for children and families affected by cancer
- iSurvivor Online Support Programme – a 20 week email guide to assist cancer Survivors along their journey and help them cope better
- KickButt Online Support Programme – a series of weekly e-mails to help quit smoking
- CANSA’s CancerCare Coping Kit Audioprogramme and booklet – providing information, practical tools and tips to promote physical, emotional and mental well-being before and during treatment. In short, it helps the newly diagnosed cancer patient and their loved ones to cope with cancer.
Bannerthon Campaign to Raise Awareness
“To make people more aware of this year’s Survivors’ Day, CANSA is continuing the Bannerthon campaign (started during October 2015). The Bannerthon allows companies, institutions and communities to get involved in the fight against cancer, by displaying a CANSA awareness banner wrapped around a building / fence. It’s a bold new way of showing your support,” continues Strauss. Banners can be ordered from Chapmar Industries tel: 011-452 1101 or download order form here…