Information and Outreach support officers at Walsall Palliative Care Centre are playing their part to help “Close the Care Gap” which is the theme of this year’s World Cancer Day which falls today (Friday 4 February).
This global initiative is led by the Union for International Cancer Control with the aim of raising worldwide awareness, improving education and removing cancer care barriers which exist for many.
In Walsall, support officers have initiated projects that have helped to “Close the Care Gap” such as reaching out to communities that may not have access to cancer services or screening to provide equal access to healthcare.
One initiative has been the BME Breast Cancer Support Group. Its members met face to face before the COVID-19 pandemic but switched to virtual meetings.
Jo Barlow, Outreach & Information Support Officer, said: “This was a big adjustment at first but we all worked through it together and it was wonderful to have a reunion at Christmas!”
Here’s what members say about the group:
“It’s taken a lot of courage for me to come to the group. Breaking away from my home life and its taboos. I have no regrets, it’s good to share thoughts with others who have done it too”
“it’s good to have time away from home life – we call it our time”
“Understanding our journeys by talking to like-minded women”
Information and Outreach Support Services are there for those diagnosed with cancer or life limiting illnesses and offer information, a listening ear, signposting and holistic care for patients and their families; connecting them to relevant services or community groups.
Staff also focus on raising awareness of bowel, breast and cervical cancer screening programmes as part of the ongoing preventative work in Walsall.
Patients can be referred into the service by calling 01922 602610 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org