It was lovely to see everyone at our April meeting. Sparked by the recognition of our facilitator’s 5 year anniversary since treatment, the meeting began with the group sharing how long it has been since each member completed treatment. Amazingly we have a huge range from just a number of months all the way to 18 years! Even more amazing is regardless of the time since treatment, everyone continues to learn new tips and tricks from each other every time we meet!
We had one new member join the group this month. It was great to hear about their recent head and neck cancer experience. As is often the case there was a lot of nodding in agreement as we listened to the story unfolding – the stresses, the challenges, the hope and the gratitude for the treatment teams.
After our private group discussion, we were joined by PeterMac’s amazing Nutrition and Clinical Psychology team who spoke with the group about a new project that has just commenced. Noting that head and neck cancer is often described as the most “traumatic” cancer, that treatment can cause difficulties with speaking, swallowing and breathing, and that up to 50% of patients also experience significant psychological distress such as anxiety, depression, fear of cancer recurrence, the project is seeking to improve the psychological and physical symptoms experienced by head and neck cancer (HNC) patients undergoing radiotherapy through prehabilitation.
The prehabilitation will provide education, prepare and optimise a patient’s psychological and physical health, between a cancer diagnosis and commencing cancer treatment. The group agreed that prehabilitation would benefit patients and assist in providing the right information at the right time. It would also support those who may not have immediate access to quality information for various reasons.
With two of our members already involved in the project as consumer representatives, other group members were excited to learn that future workshops will enable us to have a voice in how the project progresses.
Our next meeting will be held on 3rd May. We look forward to seeing you then. Please register your interest.