Recovered?

New Beginning Cancer Survivors Clinic

Yoni’s medical records read Recovered. Five years have passed and Yoni is considered cured. Radiation and chemotherapy had eradicated the cancer. But a medical folder is difficult to internalize. Yoni is still frightened. His anxiety has increased but he has been unable to speak about his fears to either his family or his physician. His functioning in many areas including family relationships and his career has been impaired. Yoni is imprisoned by the terror of the cancer returning, a victim of nightmares over which he had no control.

The need to address the unique challenges of the cancer survivor is well known in the US. The situation of cancer survivors in Israel was confirmed by a survey conducted with the assistance of market-researching firms, Shiluv and Markerwise, and by studies done by Soroka Medical Center, Rambam Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University in which the needs of Israeli patients were researched. In depth interviews were held in which survivors revealed their difficulties with body image, sexuality, fertility, employment challenges, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Seven percent were divorced, a direct result of their inability to effectively cope with the anxiety that stemmed from their illness.

 To address these needs, Ezer Mizion has undertaken a new initiative in Israel under the directorship of Dr. Tzahi Gur, previous director of The Claliti Health Services in the Jordan Valley . “Ezer Mizion aims to develop a unique center to meet the needs of this most vulnerable segment of Israel’s population.” The center’s steering committee is headed by Dr. Isaac Yaniv, director of the Hematology-Oncology Department at Schneider Children’s Hospital. Other members include Prof. Moshe Mittelman of Ichilov Hospital, Dr. Bella Kaufman and Prof. Adi Shani of Sheba Medical Center, Prof. Baruch Klein of Assuta Hospital and Dr. Nicky Lieberman of the Clalit Health Services.

 The New Beginning Cancer Survivor’s Clinic will offer each registrant an annual five-hour   meeting with a physician, dietician, social worker, psychologist and marriage counselor as well as a professionally developed program of yoga, shiatsu, dancing, reflexology, naturopathy and guide imagery. The activities are geared to alleviate the emotionally paralyzing side affects of battling cancer. In addition, support groups and an online forum are planned.

The center will also do studies on  cancer survivors in Israel with long term tracking, research of side effects and formulation of care strategies.  Findings will help in the decision making of cancer care centers regarding specific medications and future approaches.

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