Patients experience significant challenges and mixed emotions after finishing cancer treatment. To address this, ACSC has supported 2 programs of group based survivorship education at Peter Mac.
‘What happens now? Life after Cancer treatment’ was developed by Cancer Council Victoria to assist survivors cope with the transition from treatment completion through to emotional and physical recovery. It was piloted within the gynaecological cancer service at Peter Mac and available for women who had completed treatment within the preceding 18 months.
‘Getting on with Life’ was developed by the Haematology service at Peter Mac for people within the first three months post treatment. It aims to assist people gain maximum physical, social, psychological and work-related functioning after treatment.
Both are free, multidisciplinary-led, presented as a single one-day session ( 5 hours ) and open to survivors, carers, partners and family members. Both forums include information about: (i) what to expect after finishing treatment; (ii) healthy living, including nutrition and exercise; (iii) emotions and cancer and (iv) hospital and community based support services.
To date, 54 people have participated in sessions, with further sessions planned. The one day program was considered acceptable. Participants indicated the content was very helpful and the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation was supportive. Several participants indicated they would take steps as a result of their attendance, including making lifestyle changes and contacting support services.
These programs demonstrate the acceptability of group based survivorship care which emphasises a rehabilitative approach and the promotion of healthy living.