Learning By Listening To Others

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(NAPSI)—There’s a lot to be learned by listening to stories of those who faced the same difficult journey that you do—and listening can be an especially valuable skill for those recovering from cancer.

One person who knows this all too well is Della Haverty, whose recovery from colon cancer involved surgery, plus numerous oncologists’ visits and repeated blood work.

The 51-year-old Ohio mother had not anticipated how important listening would become throughout her journey to cancer survivorship.

“When you go through something as personal as colon cancer, you are left with questions,” said Haverty. “Since I didn’t know anyone who had survived colon cancer, I found I had no one to ask.”

What she did have, however, was the Cancer Survival Toolbox, a set of audio CDs provided by her health insurer that allowed her to listen and learn from survivors as they shared their experience, skills and resources.

“Much of colorectal cancer awareness focuses on the critical aspect of screening,” said Pamela Goetz, director of Survivorship Programs at the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). “We know effective screening can have a huge impact on the number of people who survive colon cancer, which is now the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.”

But, it’s also critical to address the ongoing survivorship needs of those who are diagnosed with cancer, beyond screening, says Goetz.

“If you have cancer, you may need to relearn skills to be able to advocate for yourself and get the medical care that’s best for you, from the point of diagnosis through treatment and, for some, to the final stage of survivorship,” said Goetz. “The toolbox uses cancer patients’ stories to provide practical solutions to commonly faced problems that resonate with others facing the same journey.”

The toolbox was created by a team of expert nurses and social workers, drawing on their professional and personal knowledge to develop a program for survivors of any type of cancer, along with their friends, family and loved ones, to help them gain the skills to advocate for themselves at any stage of their survivorship.

The toolbox is available from the NCCS through Empowerment and Action for Cancer Care, an alliance between Genentech and WellPoint.

For more information, visit

Some of the communication, negotiation and decision-making tips of the program include:

• Expressing your feelings by letting others know how you feel and what you think;

• Picking the experts you respect and trust to be part of your health care team;

• Identifying and asking for the help and support you need;

• Understanding that you are an individual, not a cancer statistic.

The toolbox helps patients learn how to find reliable information about their disease, as well as how to analyze information they may see on the Internet. It also helps them understand their own decision-making style and communicate their preferences with their providers.

Haverty listened to the program over a period of four months while driving in the car.

“The CDs provided the advice, answers and encouragement I needed to be a survivor and continue this journey,” said Haverty. “Listening to other survivors’ stories of suffering with the disease, and victory against it, gives me the courage to face every day.”


Note to Editors: March is Colon Cancer Month.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate(NAPSI)