Cancer Patients' Workshop Moving To Inn This Year

Posted: May 05, 1991

The coordinators of a "Living With Cancer" workshop have decided to move the event this year to a "more relaxed" location in hope of attracting more people who need help in dealing with the disease.

Instead of holding the annual workshop in a hospital, as the Burlington County Unit of the American Cancer Society has done for the last two years, it will be at the Landmark Inn in Maple Shade, said Joanne Bernacki, a Cancer Society volunteer who is coordinating the event.

The free program is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. June 6 at the Landmark Inn, Routes 38 and 73.

"This will be a safe place for cancer patients and their families to get information and to recognize there are other people dealing with the same issues," said Bernacki, an oncology nurse who will be host for the program. ''It will be a place where they can come and have their feelings validated."

Bernacki said a conference-like environment will be less threatening to the cancer patients and their families because it "will be a neutral ground."

"A hospital is usually the place where they received the bad news or where they go for treatments that may be painful or unpleasant," Bernacki said. ''We want this workshop to be a place where they can come for the afternoon and be comfortable."

The program will be divided into five 15-minute segments covering various reactions to the cancer diagnosis. The speakers in each segment will be available for an hour after the program to answer one-on-one questions, Bernacki said.

The first segment will be on coping with the cancer diagnosis - "What Do I Do, What Do I Say?" In it, emotional reactions to the cancer diagnosis and suggestions for both the patients and their loved ones will be discussed.

A segment on stress management will talk about how patients can get the maximum benefit from treatments by applying relaxation and visualization techniques.

"Talking With Your Doctor" will help patients learn how to ask questions

from health-care professionals about their disease.

In another segment, a social worker will talk about family crisis and how the disease affects the function of each family member.

"Improve Nutritional Habits - Now Is The Time" will address the cancer patient's special nutritional needs and how better eating habits will help improve their treatment results.

The workshop is free of charge to anyone who is interested in attending, according to Sheilah Malamud, a spokeswoman for the county unit.

"Both the patients and their families can benefit from the program because it is designed to address issues which crop up within families when the disease has been diagnosed," Malamud said.

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