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As the cancer journey progresses, the need for information often shifts toward a need for emotional support
Emotional support is as important as information when dealing with cancer
Dealing with a serious illness can be overwhelming for patients and their families. This is especially true when the diagnosis is cancer. Suddenly, life is turned upside down and you don’t know where to turn with your questions or to find support.
This is something that Sandra Krueckl of the Canadian Cancer Society sees first-hand. “It goes without saying that the fight against cancer is a very difficult one,” she says. “All of a sudden they have a whole lot to deal with in terms of understanding cancer, in terms of dealing with health-care teams.”
Tapping into the Cancer Information Service
A national service is there to help. The Cancer Information Service is a free program of the Canadian Cancer Society that provides information and support for cancer patients and their families, friends and caregivers.
The program receives 400 to 600 calls per month and while it doesn’t give medical advice, it can help with referrals, provide support and explain different treatment options. “It’s often typical of prostate cancer patients and breast cancer patients that they would find themselves in that situation, so we can help walk through the information,” explains Krueckl.
The program helps deal with all types of cancer and is funded by the generous donations of time and money to the Canadian Cancer Society by Canadians across the country.
For many people, the program provides a sense of security and helps them focus in their battle against the disease. That’s one of the goals, says Krueckl: “We really want people to know that they don’t need to be alone in that journey, and that we’re here to help them.””
To access the Cancer Information Service, call toll-free 1-888-939-3333 or email email@example.com
Following the national program’s success, a provincial pilot project was launched here in B.C. to see how people’s needs change throughout their cancer treatment. “By contacting people and offering to contact them at multiple touch points along the journey, we’re able to track with them to make sure they’re feeling supported the whole way,” says Krueckl.
As the cancer journey progresses, the need for information often shifts toward a need for emotional or other kinds of support. The pilot project has been so successful that it’s now being considered for the rest of the country.
Helping Children Affected by Cancer
There’s one other great resource I want to tell you about. It’s a new website to help children when cancer affects a family member.
This can be a scary time for kids and the B.C. Cancer Society has launched a non-threatening, fun and interactive site where children can play games, explore their feelings and get answers to their questions about cancer.
The site is aimed at ages 8 to 12, so younger kids may need a bit of help from a parent. You can find it at cancerinmyfamily.ca.
Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.