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“You have cancer”. These may be the most frightening words you’ve ever heard. You may feel scared, angry, crushed – or may keep hoping it’s all been a big mistake. You probably won’t remember anything your physician tells you, and wonder how to begin dealing with this.

Due to the domino effect that a cancer diagnosis may have on all aspects of the lives of patients and their loved ones, a professional counselling service forms an integrated part of your cancer treatment. At Cancercare we have a holistic approach to treating our patients.

It is for this reason we provide our patients and families with counselling services of highly skilled oncology social workers who are specialised in supporting and guiding patients and family along with their cancer journey.

Managing the distress associated with cancer is as important cancer impacts body mind and spirit. The distress that cancer causes are seen as the 6th vital sign in the managing of emotional issues associated with a cancer diagnosis. It is important that you reach out for support as part of your healing plan . The oncology social work team are equipped to deal with these aspects of care and if needed referrals are made to psychists and psychologist in the community.

The following therapies are offered:

  1. Support groups in some units
  2. Individual therapy covering the following areas:
  • Building of coping skills
  • Support in navigating the cancer journey and creating meaning from this experience
  • Building hope and management of despair
  • Supportive counselling of children of parent that have cancer
  • Supportive therapy for teenagers living with cancer
  • Trauma management
  • Stress Management
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Depression reduction
  • Management of anxiety
  • Conflict management
  • Selfesteem improvement
  • Narrative therapy
  • Assertiveness training
  • Building communication skills
  • Self-empowerment
  • Survivorship planning
  • Discharge planning for patients in the hospital
  • Terminal care counselling and supportive care interventions
  • End of life counselling
  • Bereavement
  • Grief councelling
  • Referral to other community resources (wigs, prostheses, etc.)

Take Control

The impact of cancer on the family

Individuals who are diagnosed with cancer are not the only ones being affected by this illness. It also affects their families and loved ones. Therefore, it is important to talk about changes in feelings, roles, needs and expectations during this period.

Remember that the issues of importance will differ for all families depending on the life stage of the family and the children. Families with young children will have other issues and needs than a family with adolescents or a retired couple. The oncology social workers in Cancercare assist families in dealing with the challenges that cancer poses to them.

Taking control over your treatment

Patients are encouraged to become active members of their treatment team. It is important that you engage from the start with your oncologist and be part of making treatment decisions. Building hardiness and developing your own unique action plan is an important aspect of learning to cope with a serious illness like cancer.

“People with cancer who participate in their fight for cancer will improve the quality of their life and may enhance the possibility of their recovery,” says Dr Harold Benjamin, founder of The Wellness Community in the USA.

At Cancercare patients and their families are assisted in developing and individual action plans that will facilitate their healing journey.