Oaklawn support groups extend welcome to cancer survivors

In anticipation of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, to be observed during October, Oaklawn Hospital’s two cancer support groups are keeping their doors open to community residents who are experiencing and surviving cancer.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States,” said Julie Hammon, a registered nurse at Oaklawn who works as the nurse navigator in the hospital’s oncology unit and is certified in oncology nursing.

“Since surviving cancer is such a difficult, arduous journey, the cancer survivor needs a lot of support to be successful,” said Hammon, who facilitates the hospital’s support groups, which are made available free of charge for anyone who is a cancer survivor.

One of the groups, “Surviving and Thriving Breast Cancer,” is specifically for breast-cancer survivors. Its next meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 25 in the conference room of the Ricketson Medical Building, 103 E. Mansion St. The group normally meets on the last Tuesday of each month, except December.

Breast-cancer survivors at any stage of the cancer journey are welcome to come and meet others who are traveling similar paths, Hammon said. Typically, each month’s meeting focuses on a specific discussion topic.

The other group, “Partners for Recovery,” is open to anyone to come to talk with others who’ve experienced or survived cancer. The group meets from 6 to 8 p.m. every third Tuesday of the month in the Ricketson Medical Building, and its next meeting will be Oct. 16. All cancer survivors are welcome, with or without partners, Hammon said.

“To survive cancer is a tremendous accomplishment,” Hammon said. “Many people who are diagnosed with cancer do not realize that one of the definitions of cancer survivorship endorsed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology is ‘the process of living with, through, and beyond cancer.’

“Survivorship even extends to the spouse, friends and family who help the cancer survivor throughout his/her journey,” she said.

To learn more about cancer survivorship or either support group, contact Hammon at (269) 789-3962.

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