LINDSBORG — Cancer can be life-changing, not only for the individual who is given the diagnosis, but also for those who are close to them.
"Everything just kind of comes to a halt," said Lindsborg Community Hospital Director of Marketing and Development Betty Nelson.
Lindsborg Community Hospital is hosting "So Now What? A Conference on Cancer Survivorship" in order to support cancer patients, cancer survivors and their caregivers. It is being held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 19 at the J.O. Sundstrom Conference Center, 102 N. Main St. in Lindsborg.
The conference features a trio of medical professionals who will speak on issues such as managing weight, exercise, psychosocial and sexual health and nutrition. Each of those topics will be addressed with an emphasis on how they relate to cancer patients and survivors.
"It is something a lot more attention is being paid to right now," Nelson said.
More than 15 million American cancer survivors will often face physical, emotional, psychosocial, spiritual and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. The highs and lows of cancer are experienced not only by those who have been diagnosed with the disease, but also by their family members, friends and others who provide care.
The "So Now What?" presentations will be given by Executive Director of the Wichita Medical Research and Education Foundation Peggy Johnson, Cancer Program Dietitian for the Tammy Walker Cancer Center Jeanne Byquist and Clinic Director of the Kansas State University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Kelli Netson-Amore.
"I'm going to be covering information about psychosocial factors related to surviving — coping, emotional issues, sexuality, intimacy and some other well-being factors," Netson-Amore said. "A lot of survivors have difficulty not only coping with the diagnosis and treatment, but also with after that time."
Cancer survivors can experience anxiety and depression which affects both them and those with whom they have close relationships, she noted.
"We'll talk about ways you can prepare for and cope with that," Netson-Amore said. "I think that's information that co-survivors and family members will also find useful."
Also vital to a person's emotional health when dealing with cancer and its aftereffects is practicing self-care by communicating about and prioritizing personal needs.
"We find that women tend to be super-copers," Netson-Amore said.
The Kansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen developed "So Now What?" conference, which is not just for breast cancer survivors, but for anyone who has survived or is currently receiving treatment for any type of cancer. Co-survivors and caregivers are also invited to attend the conference. There will be a time for questions and answers to be asked of those presenting.
"This is something that we are extremely excited to partner with Susan G. Komen on," Nelson said.
For more information about the "So Now What?" conference, visit http://komenkansas.org or call 316-683-8510. The conference is offered free of charge thanks to the support of the Smoky Valley Community Foundation.
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