INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT
Psychosocial or emotional support aims to improve the quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer as well as their family members and it is a powerful platform for coping with life during diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Our Patient Support Team consists of breast cancer survivors who undergo training and on-going supervision in offering psychosocial or emotional support for women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families. Support is given through face to face sessions, phone calls and electronically. These support programmes help individuals with breast cancer and their loved ones to cope with life during and after diagnosis and treatment.
The Patient Support Team members visit newly diagnosed individuals in government and private hospitals regularly in the initial stages of their treatment, providing them and their family members support to help them cope emotionally, psychologically and physically through their diagnosis, treatment and recovery. On the first visit, each newly diagnosed person is given a comfy kit, consisting of a bag, a temporary prosthesis (if needed), a stress ball, and the following publications in the different local languages:-
Breast Cancer : How to Cope
We Have Breast Cancer Too
Nutrition and Breast Cancer
Exercises After Breast Cancer
BCWA Activity Book
At present, the hospitals visited by the Patient Support Team volunteers include University Malaya Medical Centre, University Malaya Specialist Centre, University Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Sungai Buloh and Hospital Selayang. Doctors from other government and private hospitals also refer their patients to BCWA for psychosocial support. The volunteers and staff of BCWA also manage distress calls from individuals affected by breast cancer.
GROUP PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT
Therapeutic, social and emotional support activities are organised to help women with breast cancer to deal with their treatment and recovery, and eventually, to take control of their lives again. In these sessions, irrespective of educational, ethnic or social background, women with breast cancer are able to benefit from mutual support, fellowship and information on managing themselves.
New Patient Education Sessions : 1:00 – 2:30 pm on third Saturdays
The Patient Support Team volunteers offer one-to-one informal educational sessions to help newly diagnosed women and their family members to understand and gain knowledge about what to expect during treatment and beyond. The sessions provide privacy and freedom for them to express their concerns and to ask questions on coping and managing themselves through their breast cancer experience and making lifestyle choices. The common issues discussed at these sessions are:
Fear of treatment;
Concerns regarding uncertainty in life;
Self and public image;
Dealing with social stigma, prejudice and discrimination related to breast cancer;
Logistical issues; and,
Communication with children.
Group Sharing Sessions: 2:30 – 4:30 pm on third Saturdays
Group psychosocial support programmes are a way to provide therapeutic, social and emotional support to help women with breast cancer and family members to deal with the impact of disease and treatment enabling women to regain control of their lives. These activities conducted in a safe environment reach out to women with breast cancer irrespective of their educational, ethnic or social backgrounds and enable them to benefit from the mutual support, fellowship, experience and the sharing of information in an informal way. Our Patient Support Team members facilitate the sessions to ensure the participants are not misled into biased information. They are also available to attend to queries and to support women through their fears and concerns regarding mortality, suffering, dietary concerns and lifestyle adjustment.