Health groups are raising awareness of supportive services for cancer patients available in Kamloops.
In recognition of National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day on Tuesday, the Kamloops Cancer Supportive Care Society (KCSCS) and Royal Inland Hospital Foundation (RIHF) hosted an information session, discussing the benefits of supportive cancer care and where its available locally.
The session also highlighted InspireHealth Supportive Cancer Care, which is offering virtual programs to cancer patients in the Kamloops area.
KCSCS representative Leslie Brochu told KTW that since the provincial government has indicated a promised complete cancer care centre in Kamloops is still years away, the non-profit is, in the meantime, highlighting the supportive services available locally, acting as one-stop shop to connect residents.
Brochu said supportive care is focused on managing all aspects of a person’s life that are impacted by cancer, such as understanding the diagnosis, handling psychosocial stress, maintaining healthy eating, figuring out career and financial implications of treatment and planning for the future.
“There is just all of this support that’s outside of the actual treatment,” Brochu said, noting KCSCS helps connect people with doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, various types of counsellors and other professionals, depending on the type of cancer.
“The medical part is just one piece of the damage cancer does to a person.”
She said it can be difficult for cancer patients to try to determine where to find the myriad supportive services resources they may need while dealing with the stress of a cancer diagnosis.
“It’s a full-time job,” she said.
Brochu said research shows providing wraparound supportive care services to cancer patients improves outcomes and takes pressure off the health-care system.
In an effort to increase the services and number of people that can be helped, KCSCS has partnered with InspireHeath, which will give Kamloopsians access, free of charge, to professionals they need.
Hannah Nette, director of clinical services with InspireHeath, told KTW the organization is trying to raise awareness of its virtual programs — an area it has focused on since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The virtual model is working well to increase access for people who are dealing with cancer,” Nette said.
Started in Vancouver 25 years ago, the organization has many virtual programs to offer Kamloopsians with cancer, and their families, either over the phone or via video conference.
Those include counselling, mental-health support, exercise therapy and one-on-one dialogue with physicians who can help people navigate various areas of need when addressing their diagnosis.
More than 15 classes are offered every week and residents can access them online.
“We have cooking classes, nutrition workshops, we have meditation classes,” Nette said. “We have workshops where people can better understand some of the areas they can get support with, like sleep, managing their side effects from cancer treatments … managing mood and stress reduction.”
All of InspireHeath’s programs are free of charge and can accessed online at inspirehealth.ca.