Safe support for cancer patients

MURRAY Primary Health Network is establishing a support group in the Gannawarra and Buloke regions to provide a safe space for people affected by cancer.

The group, which includes people living with cancer and their carers, will foster local connections to provide emotional and other supports, including the sharing of resources, experiences and ideas. 

The network is looking to hear from people who can tell the network about the type of support that will suit their needs. Early suggestions include group events with guest speakers, exercise classes, one-on-one and online support, to connect with people in the same situation. 

The group is being established as part of the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program, that is funded by the Victorian Government. The group aims to improve access to health and community services for cancer survivors, increase the capacity of primary and community health agencies to support cancer survivors, and create and maintain effective and sustainable health agency partnerships across the region. 

Network chief executive officer, Matt Jones said that having access to extra support can play an important role in a person's health outcomes, as well as providing those people part of the survivorship experience such as carers and family with additional assistance. 

"Support groups bring people together who've been through a similar experience," he said.

"They provide a safe space to connect with others and opportunity to talk about health and well-being, including how to enjoy life during and after treatment. 

"People can often feel isolated and unsupported when they are diagnosed and being treated for cancer, particularly in rural and regional areas. Established groups develop a sense of community and can help everyone involved in the cancer survivorship journey to also deal with the psychological effects of cancer." 

To register interest in the group, contact Cancer Survivorship Project co-ordinator, Gemma Bilardi,03 4408 5610 or gbilardi@murrayphn.org.au 

This project is being delivered in partnership with Mallee District Aboriginal Services, Kerang District Health, East Wimmera Health, Gannawarra Shire Council and Buloke Shire Council.

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