Our Support Workers have been through Breast Cancer themselves.
They're here to help you navigate the many aspects of having breast cancer. Whether you want practical information like who supplies prosthesis (and what are they anyway?) or more in depth conversations our support workers are here to help you.
COVID Protection Framework
At Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust we continue to provide support to anyone in the Western Bay of Plenty who has breast cancer.
All our staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and when clients are not fully vaccinated our services are contactless. This means we offer support through phone, text, email and using tools such as Zoom. Contactless services can also include frozen dinners, book loan and supply of other practical items that can be helpful.
Clients who are fully vaccinated are able to additionally come into the Resource Centre, attend group activities and utilise oncology massage.
Counselling offers the opportunity to talk with someone who will listen without criticism, keeping what you say confidential and work with you to explore ways of dealing with what life is offering you. We have qualified, experienced counsellors available.
Financial support is available to alleviate a little of the stress that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis for those who are experiencing financial hardship.
When you have just had surgery or in the middle of treatment, the thought of preparing a meal can be daunting. We can offer you some meals for your freezer – healthy and appetising and all you have to do is defrost.
Oncology Massage Service
Gentle massage can be a good way to help ease stress and anxiety while you are dealing with breast cancer and for some it can be an effective way to relieve pain. Michelle Stewart delivers our oncology massage service for clients on Wednesdays here at the resource centre.
When someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer the most important thing you can do is listen.
Listen carefully to what they say so you can understand what they need. Remember they are still the same person but now need extra support, especially during periods of treatment and hospital stays. How you react can make a big difference. The first time you see them after a diagnosis is often the most difficult. Don't ignore the illness. Acknowledge it and let them talk if they want to. People with cancer often have mood swings and can take several months to adjust to a diagnosis, so be prepared for changes in behaviour. Don't let their bad days put you off and keep in touch.
Everyone reacts differently. Some will want to talk about it, some will want to talk about anything but the diagnosis. Listen for what they want and don't be afraid to ask what they'd like to do.
Offer to go with your friend to appointments or treatments. Often there will be a lot of information for a patient to absorb and it is hard when your head is spinning. A friend focusing on the information may help to pass it on later.
Fold the washing, do the vacuuming, mow the lawn, weed the garden, take the children to school, prepare a meal, but do it without making them feel inadequate.
Asking for help is not easy. So when a friend says, "Whatever you need, just give me a call", it's hard for someone to make that call. It's better to be specific and ask, When would you like me to come over and help with some of the chores - Tuesday or Thursday?"
Don't forget that the person's family will be going through a lot of emotions and changes in their routines as well. They will need support too.