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Breast Cancer Care launch support service for survivors

GIVING BACK: PROWESS volunteer, Nevo

A BREAST cancer support charity is launching an interactive new service supporting women after they have finished breast cancer treatment.

Breast Cancer Care, the only specialist breast cancer support charity working throughout the UK, has found that the emotional and physical side effects of a breast cancer diagnosis can continue long after people have finished their treatment and when coupled with a lack of specialist support locally, can leave people feeling isolated and abandoned.

To help patients receive the tailored support they need, the charity is launching PROWESS, an acronym for Promoting Recovery, Wellbeing, Equality and Support in Survivorship.

PROWESS offers a unique series of face-to-face sessions over five weeks, which will start in March.

The service will run in Deptford, south London, and will give people of all ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to have their specific questions and concerns addressed by experts and trained volunteers at informal workshops.

The sessions also offer the chance to talk to someone else who has had a breast cancer diagnosis and understands how they may be feeling.

Lorraine Marke, from Forest Hill, south London, was diagnosed with breast cancer almost five years ago and says she wishes the service was available when she was dealing with the “awful side effects” following hospital treatment.

“I was very upbeat and positive throughout my hospital treatment,” the 52-year-old recalls, but once it ended the reality of my diagnosis hit me and my mood sunk.”

Marke says once she was discharged from hospital, she felt “completely lost” and found it hard adjusting to life again after visiting the hospital weekly for over a year.

“I was struggling to adjust and was dealing with awful side effects. Though the support of my family and friends was amazing I really wanted to speak to someone who had also been there.”

Marke is now a proud volunteer for PROWESS and hopes she’ll be able to help others who find themselves in the same boat as she once did.

“That’s why I’m so happy to be a volunteer at the PROWESS service to help other women diagnosed with breast cancer know they aren’t alone and there is somewhere to turn and people to speak to in their community,” she said.

Ben Langston, Service Development Manager, at Breast Cancer Care, added: “We are very excited to be piloting this brand new service in south London. We know that cancer doesn’t stop after you finish hospital treatment and this free service will provide vital support that’s easy to access in the local community.

“PROWESS will offer information and guidance on topics such as treatment side effects, healthy lifestyle and hair and skin care, all tailored to the specific requests from people in the group.

“Anyone who has finished their hospital based treatment for breast cancer in the last 12 months is welcome to come along, but sign up soon as places are running out fast.”

The first session will be held on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 10am - 2pm at Deptford Lounge and will continue weekly.

To book a place or for more information contact Jennifer at Breast Cancer Care on 020 7960 3424 or email jennifer.finnegan-john@breastcancercare.org.uk

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