LCHM Fall 2017 - 5

L C M E D S O C .O R G

A REAL NEED
Each year, 9,000 people are diagnosed with
some type of cancer in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
Additionally, hundreds of friends, caregivers, and
families also need support, education, and a
connection to others sharing similar experiences.
Pennsylvania is ranked in the top five U.S.
states for most cancer cases and most deaths
caused by cancer. And for every number, there
is a personal story: a trusted co-worker, a dear
neighbor, a beloved cousin.
Many patients - from the newly diagnosed
to those many years out from a diagnosis - experience varying levels of distress and depression,
which can negatively impact patient responses. In
fact, severe distress often leads to increased medical
costs and, ultimately, poorer patient outcomes.
The Cancer Support Community's support
groups, education programs, and healthy lifestyle
classes help participants regain control to manage
their health, reduce stress and isolation, and restore
a sense of hope for a better quality of life during
treatment and in survivorship. These support
groups also frequently lead to better outcomes.
Cancer Support Community programs work.
Experience developed over 35 years has created
profound expertise. Research proves it.
The Greater Lehigh Valley organization - an
affiliate of the international 35-year-old Cancer Support Community with 170 locations
- opened in 2004 to ensure that all people
impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained
by community through its emotional support
groups, educational resources, and wellness
classes designed specifically for cancer survivors
and loved ones.
Increasingly, research shows that psychosocial
support services are an integral part of comprehensive cancer care.
The Cancer Support Community uses cutting-edge research, best practices, evidence-based
curriculum materials, and adherence to distinctive
standards for psychosocial cancer programs to
meet or exceed its goal: that 95% of program

EXHAUSTED AND DEPRESSED, MICHAEL, HIS
WIFE'S CAREGIVER, SHAMBLED INTO A MONDAY
NIGHT SUPPORT GROUP FOR CAREGIVERS, SPENT
TWO HOURS TALKING AND LISTENING, AND LEFT
- CHEERFUL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN WEEKS,

AT NO COST TO HIM.

participants improve the quality of their lives
through increased knowledge and skills, as well as
improved behaviors, intentions, and attitudes in
five core areas: 1) decreased psychological strain,
unwanted aloneness and stress; 2) increased access
to educational information about cancer; 3)
increased physical, mental, emotional, and social
well-being; 4) increased feelings of hope, control,
quality of life, knowledge, healthy behaviors; and
5) increased connections with others who share
similar goals to feel less alone.
70 professionally led monthly programs draw
4,200 visits every year - no matter where they are
treated - at no cost to the participants.
Each month, over 350 people of all ages,
races, ethnicities, and socio-economic groups are
drawn to the 70 programs offered, which include
cancer-specific and general-cancer support groups
for caregivers, teens and young adults, long-term
survivors, and the bereaved. Therapeutic classes
in journaling, meditation, art therapy, cooking,
and gentle exercise like T'ai Chi and yoga address
the fundamental issues that survivors and their
families undergo.
Educational workshops on topics like clinical
trials, genetic predisposition, pain and side-effect
management, intimacy, lymphedema management, oral health, and skin care expand a
participant's knowledge. And opportunities
for social connections create strong bonds to
strengthen participants' outlook.
Licensed therapists lead support groups;
qualified instructors lead wellness activities like
dance and karate; medical professionals lead
educational programs.

In addition, there is a wig room where women
select a beautifully crafted wig; a library with
take-home material about many cancers in both
English and Spanish; a family section with a
special place for children to engage in art projects;
a printed and online monthly program calendar;
and an email newsletter with critical and lighthearted information about living with cancer.
All of these programs are available at our
homelike setting near Allentown's airport, and
all are welcome regardless of where they are
being treated.

HOW CAN THESE PROGRAMS BE FREE?
Every program and resource at the Cancer
Support Community is free to participants
in order to remove barriers to accessing these
services. About 44% of cancer patients report
their concerns about the financial impact of cancer.
The Cancer Support Community operates
entirely on contributions, and all funds raised
are used locally in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks,
Carbon, and Monroe Counties in PA, and
Warren, NJ.
Private grants, corporate contributions, individual donations, and yearly special events - The
Garden of Hope garden party, the Ride for
Hope motorcycle ride, and the Wings of Hope
butterfly release - support these vital programs.
Other meaningful fundraising opportunities
also occur during the year.

FALL 2017 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 5


http://www.LCMEDSOC.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Fall 2017

LCHM Fall 2017 - 1
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