Solaris Cancer Care

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$22,744.43 raised

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Thank you for undertaking the Dry July Challenge, for sharing our vision and recognising the importance of providing supportive care to West Australian cancer patients and their carers.

This July, your efforts will directly contribute to the continued delivery and growth of Solaris Cancer Care support services.

World-wide surveys of cancer patients consistently report that 50-70% will access complementary and alternative medicines. This can be expensive, useless, offer false hope and potentially dangerous if not reported to the mainstream health care team.

It took a chance comment from a patient of Solaris Cancer Care founder, Professor David Joske, to make him realise that as a cancer physician, he either had to buy into this area, or forever have a gap between himself and his patients: they wouldn't be able to tell him what else they were trying and physician and patient wouldn't quite be rowing in the same direction (or at worst, they would be in different boats!)

This chance comment and the subsequent research led to the establishment of Solaris Cancer Care. The organisation was founded to provide cancer patients and carers access, to safe, free or low cost, supervised and credentialed complementary therapies, group support, exercise sessions, counselling and education. Patients receiving mainstream cancer treatment, can opt to undertake a variety of treatments such as counselling, yoga, massage, meditation, acupuncture and reflexology.

Our mission is to help people through their cancer journey by providing a quiet oasis where ancient modalities of therapy can be used alongside high-tech Western medicine, to address cancer symptoms and the side effects of treatment. In-house and published research shows improved quality of life and may reduce the side effects of anxiety, pain, nausea and fatigue, the most troubling symptoms for cancer patients.

Solaris Cancer Centres are located within or near, tertiary and regional facilities in a unique model of care. In 2019, Solaris Cancer Care provided over 28,000 services to Western Australians with cancer, and their carers. We remain committed to establishing an evidence basis for what we do by monitoring our interventions, publishing research and peer-reviewed publications.

Our community activities include the construction and recent refurbishment of the beautiful Solaris Cancer Care / Dry July Community Garden at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. This provides a tranquil and serene place for patients to enjoy a cuppa, eat their lunch or just take time out between appointments.

Solaris Cancer Care has had an enormous impact on the cancer journey of many West Australians. It represents the inclusion of community health care practitioners within the Western medical framework in a unique community-based model of care.

To put it simply, Solaris Cancer Care improves the journey for all West Australians impacted by a cancer diagnosis, and it is with your help from Dry July, that we can continue this vital work.

Latest Updates

Dry July 2020 campaign supports patient wellbeing at Solaris Cancer Care Centre

Dry July funds have enabled Solaris Cancer Care to provide joint online and in-person professional counselling, support groups and community programs beyond their metropolitan centres. They have also extended their community programs and mental health services to the Pilbara, Broome, and Great Southern regions.

Your support has helped Solaris continue their current community programs such as their Drumming Circle and Guest Speaker events in-person, whilst also recording them live for people with cancer outside Perth. The continuation of these programs has allowed Solaris to reach out to a broader group of cancer patients, observing a rise in male participation from their purchase of more African djembe drums for our Drumming Circle. The live recordings, uploaded to their Vimeo showcase, has also enabled them to connect with cancer patients living in regional areas, alleviating the stress that comes with travelling.

My Story – All that is

It was October 11, was good, I was a week into being 32, I’d been nominated for top 6 beer reps in WA, I was planning my next big holiday and I was just so happy, I literally proclaimed on my birthday that this was going to be my year....finally!!!

And that’s when it happened, I found a lump while checking my handy work at applying a fake tan. Safe to say I got a little more than a summer glow from this tanning session. So, if someone ever says to you that a fake tan may save your life, it’s a thing! 

I go to the GP that same day, I’m examined then get referred to go for an ultrasound, mammogram and biopsy. The next couple of days are awkward and painful. But then the waiting game for the results begins...which in some ways is even more painful. 

I didn’t have to wait long though; in just a few days my GP was telling me my new reality. Stage 2, grade 3, triple positive breast cancer! My 1 lump was actually 3 and that meant I’d need a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation! 

Fast forward 2 weeks, it’s Oct 29 and after a series of surgeon appointments and more referrals, I’m on the operating table saying goodbye to my right breast. 

It wasn’t easy, the weeks leading up to surgery were the most emotional of my life. Telling your family & friends is what gets you. You re-live it every time you have to tell them and hear the pain in their voice. I squeezed a trip to Bali in before my surgery and found the acceptance of the whole situation that I needed to be able to do a social media post telling the rest of my world my current reality. 

The next few months are trying, treatment gets harder each time, but I am determined to do everything in my power to be ok. I start doing energy work, seeing healers, massage, reiki, healing touch, acupuncture, meditation, adjust my diet, do a photoshoot, I give my body & mind every possible chance to get through this. It’s fascinating what your body can withstand when you work from within, I learnt early on that mindset is 90% of the battle and your body will get you through anything. 

It was during this time I started to utilise Solaris cancer care at SCGH and the support, treatments and understanding that comes from the team of amazing humans is second to none. I made sure to pop some money in the donation box every time, a small gesture, but how else do you say thank you to strangers being there for you through the most difficult time of your life. 

I’ve had my share of setbacks, complications, victories and trying moments...I’ve watched my skin burn from radiation, endured a failed reconstruction, had needles as thick as iPhone cords come at me and more surgery ahead of me. This journey of mine has not been easy, but every day I tell myself, be the exception, not the statistic! 

Read the full story here: 

Your Dry July fundraising helps Solaris provide Counselling and Support Services for people affected by cancer

Solaris Cancer Care recognises, people with cancer sometimes need support to manage the many issues that arise on the cancer journey.  

Professional counselling and support groups are an integral service offered by Solaris Cancer Care and Dry July funding continues to underpin this vital assistance. Provided by compassionate, qualified facilitators, our counsellors and facilitators assist patients to talk through and clarify their concerns and issues, help find resolution and reduce anxiety.

Dry July funds enable Solaris Cancer Care to continue their Guest Speaker Program

Dry July funding has enabled us to continue the provision of our guest speaker program. These free events offer the opportunity to hear from experts in their field and enable patients and the wider public the opportunity to understand how to live well during the cancer journey.

The 2019 program included an Exercise Science Update presentation by leading academic, Professor Rob Newton. This presentation included cancer related fatigue and the influence of exercise; exercise medicine and tumour biology, reducing decline in strength, body composition and functional ability in cancer patients. This information is invaluable in managing and living with a cancer diagnosis.

2019 Dry July funds contributed to the introduction of drumming circle workshops at Solaris Cancer Care!

Solaris Cancer Care is fortunate to have counsellors trained in the Holyoake DRUMBEAT program and with the aid of Dry July, we purchased African Djembe drums and introduced drumming circle workshops. No musical skills or experience are required by participants.

As well as providing a sense of community, these structured programs incorporate music, psychology and neurobiology to build resilience through rhythm.