12 Mar Cancer: you don’t have to walk the road alone
Cancercare’s Cape Gate oncology unit provides holistic treatment, counselling and support so that cancer patients in the broader Western Cape have full support every step of the way through their cancer journey.
For many people, the first reaction to a cancer diagnosis is a mixture of shock and confusion, often adding to a series of existing daily stresses. Caron Majewski, Oncology social worker at Cancercare’s Cape Gate oncology unit, says that in addition to the shock of being diagnosed with cancer, people are often concerned about how to tell their children, how they will be able to perform at work, how their treatment will impact daily life, and how they will deal with a loss of control over their bodies and their appearance.
“Without a solid support structure and effective counselling, cancer patients can feel very alone, emotional and depressed,” says Majewski. “This is why Cancercare Cape Gate’s entire ecosystem is geared to offer our patients holistic support for mind, body and spirit soul. Medically, the facility has access to all oncology care as well as world renowned cutting-edge therapies. Patients are offered the opportunity to have access to genetic testing, DNA analysis and gene evaluation of the tumours. However, we are also very cost conscious and treat in line with ICON and SAOC guidelines. Our Cancercare Cape Gate team is empathetic and supportive and walk the journey with our patients.”
Cancercare’s Cape Gate Centre offers free counselling and patients have access to various support groups, as well as access to ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ sessions which assist women to come to terms with hair loss and mastectomies. This holistic support is offered at no additional charge to medical treatment, the costs of which are typically covered by medical aids.
Majewski says the hundreds of Cape-based patients who seek Cancercare’s services say that counselling, support groups and holistic care help them to feel supported and help them to manage anxieties that arises when starting cancer treatment. “Without counselling and support, patients may feel isolated and alone. Often, we will find that newly-diagnosed patients have searched the internet for information and come up with misinformation that causes even more anxiety. We help them understand their diagnosis and prognosis, prepare them to understand what to expect from treatment, and offer ongoing emotional and psychological support and information that will link them to relevant community resources as is needed .”
Cancercare Cape Gate’s psychosocial support services ranges from hospitalisation support to terminal care. It also includes discharge and home care planning, as well as advanced care planning.
Caron says Cancercare also provides a host of supportive services aimed at the treatment follow-up and survivorship phases their patients have to go through. Learning to adjust to the new normal post cancer treatment is very stressful and getting back to work and your day to day life can be very emotional and hard to navigated . Our oncology social work team offer individual and group support during this phase of the cancer journey.
“We know that our patients are dealing with so many uncertainties, and can feel a complete loss of control when undergoing cancer treatment, so we work to help them regain control, and feel safer and more comfortable about knowing what to expect and how to deal with it,” she says.