The CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group here in Birmingham, Alabama has been supporting women with gynecologic cancers, their families, friends, loved ones and the professionals who treat them for over 20 years. We recognize that in addition to excellent medical care, there is a deep need for emotional, spiritual, and educational support when faced with the challenge of a life-threatening illness.
Therefore our goals are to:
Create a setting in which patients can offer one another emotional, social, and spiritual support
Provide opportunities to educate others about gynecologic cancers treatments
Provide practical support for patients, directly or indirectly
Make it possible for patients and professionals to interact in informal settings
Promote GYN Cancer education and awareness
Actively participate in local and national events that support GYN cancer awareness
We offer two support meetings a month: the third Sunday afternoon and the 3rd Friday at lunchtime of each month. The Sunday meeting has a separate meeting room for caregivers to share. Details about these meetings can be found on our home page as well as our calendar page.
Each support meeting is different. We often have speakers or presenters and sometimes we just get together to share and plan. In our November meeting we put together 200-250 goody bags to be given to patients undergoing chemo in November and December. Since at times patients are too ill to attend meetings we post meeting announcements and speaker notes on our website.
Many ladies will exchange email address and telephone numbers so they can stay in touch throughout the month. The best part about the CanSurvive group is that someone with gyn cancer can meet (in person or even by e-mail,cards, or phone calls) other gyn cancer survivors and find support, encouragement, hope, and know they are not alone. It means so much to talk to someone who has “been there”.
Because most women lose their hair during chemo, from time to time we place bandanas and/or hats in the chemotherapy room. We often send balloons or flowers as a pick-me-up. We provide some modest practical support in the form of gift or gasoline cards or help with an identified, unmet need.
During September, CanSurvive members staff awareness tables, speak one-to-one and provide literature about the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers. Additionally we host various fundraising and awareness events through out the month. More details regarding September awareness month events can be found under the Awareness tab.
We are also active in the community to promote awareness of ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers often pairing up with other support or research groups in the area.