Canberrans find much needed support for life after cancer treatment

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More than 50 Canberrans have accessed free support after cancer treatment through Cancer Council ACT’s ENRICHing Survivorship Program since it started in October 2021.

The program receives funding through the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program and provides local cancer survivors and their carers with professional advice to help improve physical and emotional wellbeing after cancer treatment. Sessions run for two hours per week over eight weeks and include information on nutrition and exercise, led by an accredited dietician and exercise physiologist, as well as yoga and peer support.

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For local cancer survivors the ENRICHing Survivorship program has been a timely and life-affirming program. Vickie was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2020 and found the loss of face-to-face programs during COVID challenging. Vickie, who is now a peer support volunteer for the program, stated, “There was a long time when those normal support services just didn’t exist. The first thing that was made available was ENRICH.”

“I had a very active life before my diagnosis and now I was doing nothing, I was totally at a loss. It was great to be in a room with people like me, talking about what they did when they were stuck in this post treatment vacuum. I took away ideas that I put into action immediately about how I was going to move forward in this new life I was living.”

Luciano undertook the ENRICHing Survivorship program in October 2021 after being diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and is now a peer support volunteer for the program. Luciano said, “I was interested to see what sort of information I could get and found a lot of it was around what other people had gone through. What I had thought was just me experiencing something, I realised that there were others who had gone through the same thing.”

Cancer Council ACT CEO Verity Hawkins says of the program, “The ENRICHing Survivorship program has been an important part of the assistance we provide to those impacted by cancer in the ACT. It supports participants to learn how to adapt to life after treatment, with a focus on both physical and emotional health. But more than that, it reminds people that they are not alone in what they are experiencing.”

“We are looking forward to delivering three more sessions in the first half of 2023 and are introducing an evening session in February to provide greater flexibility for cancer survivors with competing commitments.”

ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA says, “The ACT Government is proud to partner with Cancer Council ACT to support cancer survivors to get the important physical and emotional wellbeing support they need to continue their recovery and improve their lives.

“Cancer is a debilitating disease, and it’s important that those going through treatment are supported and know there are programs available to help.”

Cancer Council ACT will provide separate afternoon and evening sessions starting early February 2023. Registrations are essential, and more information can be found at:

https://actcancer.org/support/enriching-survivorship-program/

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