Cancer can give you a really hard time, but life after cancer is also a challenge. After years of effort and focus on combating the disease, there comes… emptiness. You win, so you have to enjoy it, but you don’t really know what to do next. You don’t know how to go on with your life.
The “iPoRaku” program supports cancer survivors in overcoming their psychological trauma and make a step forward.
We are launching the third edition of the program, to which we invite cancer survivors from Gdansk, Krakow, Katowice, Poznan, Wroclaw and Warsaw. Those who qualify for the project will have an opportunity to attend the workshops on “Ups and downs of life after cancer”, whose goal is to strengthen the faith and hope for a satisfying life after cancer treatment and show how to manage those “downs” of the new post-cancer reality. The participants who will want to continue their self-work after the workshops will be offered psychotraumatological help in the form of individual EMDR post-traumatic stress therapy. Moreover, the program will include meetings with specialists from the Hudson company, as well as individual career path consultations. Those who feel the need and desire will be offered an opportunity to take part in sports activities, consultations with a personal image consultant, beauty workshops and coaching sessions.
About the program
Cancer patients are typically shown a very clear path to follow. Diagnosis, treatment, check-ups. When cancer is in remission, the patient undergoes regular check-ups for the next 5 years to exclude the risk of relapse. Owing to the progress of medical knowledge and improving cancer treatment effects, there are more and more cancer survivors.
At first glance, you might feel satisfied with this scenario. Regaining health and normal life is, after all, the ultimate objective. However, patients often find out that there is no “normal life” for them anymore. The disease becomes a familiar safe haven, which you don’t want to leave, despite the whole struggle to do it. This is the moment when the Polish healthcare system fails and the cancer survivor is left alone. According to the Foundation’s experience, this situation affects a large group of people.
Psychiatrists compare cancer survivors to recovering addicts or soldiers returning home from military service. Cancer survivors can be diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within six months from being informed about the remission. They often report that their ordeal started when they received positive check-up results and found themselves unable to come home just like that, lock their rifle in the closet and have a cup of tea.
The society considers the problem solved, while the cancer survivor starts a new battle for their life after the disease, to keep the cancer away and learn how to live without it.
Having discerned the need for systemic solutions for such patients, we decided to launch the iPoRaku program that would provide cancer survivors with comprehensive support and be flexible enough to satisfy their most crucial needs and thus help them return to normal life.
Psychological and psychotraumatological support was mentioned by the Foundation’s beneficiaries among their needs. Moreover, cancer survivors often reported problems in the professional area. The necessity to search for a new job can be difficult, stressing or even considered unbearable. The disease can also sometimes be a catalyst of professional changes. Other factors supporting the change and starting a new life included self-care through balanced diet, sports and image makeover.
The “iPoRaku” program is also aimed at breaking the cancer taboo and showing that more and more people overcome the disease owing to the medical progress and improved prevention. In the public awareness campaign supporting the program, we will present people who were able to recover from cancer and go on with their lives.