– We are based in Ekholt Church downstairs on the first Tuesday of the month, and we are about 35-40 people at a time, says cancer coordinator Ragnhild Skarpaas Andersen in Råde municipality.
Some of the topics covered there are living together when having cancer, how to deal with all the thoughts and fears, the role of relatives, various side effects, late and long term effects of cancer treatment, what gives energy, a good quality of life and courage in the midst of demanding daily life Too many requirements.
Together we create a meeting place where everyone can drop their shoulders, be themselves and feel valued. We always have a lecture, followed by a simple meal and a pleasant chat around the tables and in plenary. Skarpaas Andersen says both speakers and cancer coordinators are on hand for conversations and questions.
She adds that there is a good atmosphere and environment in the themed cafes. Cancer Coordinators get a lot of feedback from participants that it means a lot to be able to meet others in similar life situations.
– Unfortunately, more and more people are affected by cancer, but also many cancer survivors since a lot of research is being done on cancer treatment, says Skarpaas Andersen.
She explains that being a cancer survivor can often mean that life isn’t always the same as it was before cancer treatment.
Different surgical interventions or different illnesses such as nerve pain or fatigue after chemotherapy and radiotherapy can mean that life has to be lived a little differently afterwards. Processing many physical changes and losses is very common, and it can take time to get back to everyday life again. Here, Skarpaas Andersen explains, facing others who are facing similar challenges can provide recognition and support that can help move forward.
She says that even those who are seriously ill and cannot recover meet someone in a similar situation at a coffee shop.
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Fortunately, the new treatment means that many people can live with cancer for longer than before, and relatives can meet others in the same situation. There is also space for survivors in the community, and cancer coordinators are present at meetings if a connection is needed to have a conversation about grief and the way forward, she says.
In the themed café in January, the Cancer Society’s People Equality Service came to visit.
Sandra Bolgog of the Breast Cancer Society and Nina Sondergaard of the Brain Tumor Society represent two of the 17 independent voluntary associations of cancer patients and relatives within the framework of the Cancer Society. Peers have experience with cancer either as a patient or relative, have undergone training courses and signed a non-disclosure agreement. They are there as fellow human beings, Scarpas Andersen explains.
The Café program can be found on the municipalities’ websites and under the Cancer Society.
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