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There is still work to do for those who've survived cancer

By Cait Glenn

Categories: Featured News , Cancer
January 13, 2016

Going through a cancer diagnosis is difficult and anxiety-producing.

Psychosocial support during treatment is important to help patients recognize and cope with the many emotions and feelings that come up as they navigate their cancer journey.

When treatment is over, patients embark on the recovery process while still dealing with the impact of their diagnosis and many are left wondering, "What's next?"

Transitioning into survivorship can be challenging, but seeking holistic therapies can help patients heal physically and spiritually.

Post-cancer treatment care takes many forms.

It can be a support group in which survivors feel understood and free to share their fears, hopes or what is important to them.

Support can be found in a drum circle that inspires a creative release or in a writing course that provides a much-needed outlet to share their thoughts.

Yoga sessions and nutrition courses with the needs of cancer survivors in mind can promote physical rehabilitation while reiki and guided imagery emphasizes mental wellness.

There is something for everyone.

The main goal of any support service is reducing stress and increasing relaxation — both of which are proven to promote mental and physical well-being.

And it is not just survivors who can benefit from these programs.

Cancer is not an individual disease. It impacts those who love and care for the patient just as much, but in a different way.

We encourage families to engage in the healing process and participate in support programs to better understand the emotional and physical impact of a cancer diagnosis and how they can be a source of strength for their loved ones.

But seeking help can be a challenge.

In our society, we like to handle things on our own and fear becoming a burden to our loved ones.

Taking that first step to get help can be intimidating, but vulnerability can provide an opportunity for growth and change.

Patients at Hoag who have taken advantage of our support programs say the experience of engaging in support programs is life-changing.

We found that those who participated in one program often came back to try other classes and experiment with a variety of therapies.

Hoag on Jan. 29 is hosting a Survivorship Symposium that serves as a one-stop shop for various support services — an event targeted to those looking for an introduction to support programs or those who can't commit to a series of classes but want the benefits.

We encourage all survivors to explore something new as they recover from their cancer journey.

It is good for the mind, body and soul, and it is the key to help cancer survivors transition to a new chapter in life.

Cait Glenn is a social worker at the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. The Cancer Survivorship Symposium will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Hoag Hospital Newport Beach Conference Center, CC1 & 2. Registration is required: (949) 722-6237.