Research indicates that people are living longer with cancer than ever before. The number of cancer survivors in the US today is over 13.7 million, and is expected to rise to 18 million in the next 10 years. At Gilda’s we recognize that the transition from active treatment to post treatment is a difficult journey for many cancer survivors. “Many times individuals with cancer become accustomed to treatment that can include regular doctor’s appointments and a routine structured around treating their diagnosis. Once a person is no longer in active treatment this routine changes; as doctor appointments become less frequent, feelings of anxiety and fear of reoccurrence can become heightened,” says CEO Melissa Lang.
Gilda’s Club Westchester has always offered a Post Treatment support group so that individuals who are no longer in active treatment can find ongoing support related specifically to their concerns as cancer survivors. Now, as a part of our recent program expansion, we are also offering a free four-part Cancer Survivorship Series twice a year, in the fall and spring. This series, geared toward anyone who has had any cancer diagnosis and any course of treatment, will be comprised of both supportive and educational sessions, allowing participants to share their cancer experiences and discuss topics that include conceptualizing survivorship, the importance of nutrition and exercise, and intimacy.
“As medical treatment continues to improve and cancer becomes more of a chronic illness, we know that we will see more people living with cancer and surviving. While this is great news, it also means that a variety of supports are needed to accommodate the different needs of individuals who are post treatment. We are excited to offer this four-part survivorship series for people who want to share their cancer experience and exchange information in a time-limited setting,” says Melissa.
In an evaluation of our most recent Cancer Survivorship Series, all participants rated the series 5 out of 5, and strongly agreed that it was beneficial to their post-treatment transition. “While I was in treatment I was counting down the days until my treatment was over, but soon after I finished I was struck with unexpected feelings of anxiety… others were congratulating me, but I was fearful that my cancer would return. Having the chance to connect with other survivors let me know that that I’m not alone in my feelings. This series gave me the confidence to feel good about myself and make healthy lifestyle choices as a cancer survivor,” says series participant Jacklyn.