When being diagnosed with cancer you will feel shocked and overwhelmed. Fortunately at Cancercare Cape Gate, you will find people who are sympathetic and supportive, with social workers, counselling and support groups at no additional charge.
Cancer: you don’t have to walk the road alone
Cancercare’s Cape Gate oncology unit provides holistic treatment, counselling and support so that cancer patients in the broader Western Cape have full support every step of the way through their cancer journey.
For many people, the first reaction to a cancer diagnosis is a mixture of shock and confusion, often adding to a series of existing daily stresses. Caron Majewski, Oncology social worker at Cancercare’s Cape Gate oncology unit, says that in addition to the shock of being diagnosed with cancer, people are often concerned about how to tell their children, how they will be able to perform at work, how their treatment will impact daily life, and how they will deal with a loss of control over their bodies and their appearance.
“Without a solid support structure and effective counselling, cancer patients can feel very alone, emotional and depressed,” says Majewski. “This is why Cancercare Cape Gate’s entire ecosystem is geared to offer our patients holistic support for mind, body and soul. Medically, the facility has access to all oncology care as well as world renowned cutting-edge therapy. Patients are offered the opportunity to have access to genetic testing, DNA analysis and gene evaluation of the tumours. However, we are also very cost conscious and treat in line with ICON and SAOC guidelines. In addition though, our approach to cancer care is a holistic one. From our receptionists through to our oncologists, social workers and support groups, Cancercare Cape Gate is sympathetic and supportive, taking every step of the journey with our patients.”
Offering free counselling and access to various support groups and even ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ sessions to help women come to terms with hair loss and mastectomies, Cancercare Cape Gate guides and supports patients and their families from diagnosis through to end of treatment. This holistic support is offered at no additional charge to medical treatment, the costs of which are typically covered by medical aids.
Majewski says the hundreds of Cape-based patients who seek Cancercare’s services report that counselling, support groups and holistic care help them to feel calmer and more positive as they progress through their treatment. “Without counselling and support, patients may feel isolated and alone. Often, we will find that newly-diagnosed patients have searched the internet for information and come up with misinformation that causes even more anxiety. We help them understand their diagnosis and prognosis, tell them what to expect from treatment, and offer ongoing emotional and psychological support.”
Cancercare Cape Gate’s services range from hospitalisation support with discharge and home care planning assistance, advanced care planning including home nursing and hospice referrals, and end of treatment support including help ‘adjusting to the new normal’ and counselling to deal with the anxiety around recurrence.
Helping to address common concerns, the unit will even go so far as to write to patients’ employers to outline what impact the treatment is likely to have on patients. It will also help patients who have lost their hair to find suitable resources such as wig and scarf suppliers.
“We know that our patients are dealing with so many uncertainties, and can feel a complete loss of control when undergoing cancer treatment, so we work to help them regain control, and feel safer and more comfortable about knowing what to expect and how to deal with it,” she says.