Solaris Cancer Care

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Professor David Joske started Solaris Cancer Care for two reasons: firstly, to give his patients a team around them to help with the journey and provide access to safe and supervised complementary therapies; and secondly, because he sometimes saw people come out after cancer with a much richer appreciation of life.

Good can come out of bad, and Professor Joske wanted to give his patients the best chance of this happening.

In 2019, Solaris Cancer Care will celebrate 19 years of making a difference to West Australians living with cancer. As a largely volunteer based organisation, the delivery of our cancer support services relies heavily on the generosity of the community and our Dry July’ers.

One of Australia’s leaders in integrative cancer care, Solaris offers a helping hand to guide people towards the quality of life that Professor Joske envisioned all those years ago. The grief, the confusion, the fear, the bargaining - are what everyone who works in the cancer space, witnesses daily. Cancer doesn’t make an appointment. It can’t be cancelled due to lack of interest or deferred because of a cold or fatigue but Solaris can ease the burden of a cancer diagnosis by providing access to approved resources and services to assist with the emotional and physical effects of cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and palliative care.

Patients who attend Solaris Cancer Care welcome the opportunity to take up different services such as reflexology and mindfulness-based stress reduction, massage and music therapy. They find a place where people understand what they are going through, and where some nice things can happen amidst the trauma of their illness and where they can get a lift that doesn’t seem possible anywhere else. In fact, we know from work done in Solaris and elsewhere that massage reduces anxiety, and that music therapy improves depression scores in cancer patients.

Our five centres across the state, provide a diverse range of support, information, education and exercise programs as well as access to counselling and safe complementary integrated therapies. All services are given free of charge or at nominal cost.

Our vision is to bring humanity to healthcare through care, compassion and the community. We believe that treating the whole person and not just the disease promotes overall wellbeing and improved quality of life across all stages of cancer. Founded on a strong medical base and consistently refined through our commitment to sound research and education, we look to improve access to support services for metropolitan, regional and rural patients alike.

All monies raised through Dry July directly benefit the community, providing emotional and physical support to all cancer patients and their families.

On behalf of our patients, their families, our volunteers and staff, we invite you to support Solaris Cancer Care this Dry July and in turn, help us to support, empower and nurture the West Australian Cancer Community.

Latest Updates

SolarisCare Cancer Support Centre - Rosannagh Carslaw

After going through cancer at just 17, today, Rosannagh recently graduated from her studies at Curtin University to become an occupational therapist and has put her hand up to be an Ambassador for SolarisCare’s Foundation Dry July campaign.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007 and received 6 months of chemo and radiotherapy for 6 months at the age of 17. That 6 months changed my life, however when reflecting on my cancer journey I can see many positives among the fatigue, nausea etc.. I believe this was because not only was my body being supported to defeat the disease (by being bombarded with drugs) but also my mind and body. Further, many people would know that a cancer diagnosis doesn’t just effect the person but also their support network including family and friends – it was a big relief for me knowing these important people in my life were also being supported through this time. All this support enabled me to get to a place where I was ok with my diagnosis so that my mind and body were fighting the disease together. However this is not easy and many people struggle everyday coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and the treatment that often accompanies it and this is totally normal and that’s when SolarisCare becomes so important – they provide a place (that is often lost in big hospitals) that people can turn to and receive that support so that they too can be ‘ok’ with their diagnosis and have the best change at fighting the disease with their minds and body’s working together. 

Participating in Dry July puts a cancer journey into perspective for many people…people find giving up alcohol for a month very challenging and that’s totally normal, it is definitely a part of the Australian culture and most people’s weekend rituals. However people going through cancer often are expected to change a lot more than just their alcohol habits and I think this challenge gives people a small taste of what that change means and how it feels.

That glass of wine, beer or cider (whatever your choice) is one of life’s luxuries and giving it up is a small commitment in comparison to the cancer journey millions of people are currently on. So please donate and support this fabulous cause.

My Journey by Wayne Hill

My journey towards the SolarisCare Founation began on the 19th April, 2012. Not only did this date change my life, but also that of my family, friends and workmates.

It all started with a headache that when coupled with nausea bought about a trip to the specialist and an MRI scan. Before I knew it, what had started out as a simple complaint had quickly become something that would go on to dominate our lives. The MRI revealed that I had a tumour in the right frontal lobe of my brain. We were sent straight back to the GP, where we learnt our first lesson of having Cancer, that when an offer of a tea or coffee is made, the news is never good.

Later that evening we made the first of what is a now an all too familiar trip as I was admitted to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands. Surgery quickly followed, and then the long wait for biopsy results began. Our wait ended with the dreaded diagnosis of a stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. Unaware of more suitable facilities within the hospital, my wife and I found ourselves in the hospital café with a box of tissues, tears flowing and no care for the world going on around us.

A course of radiation and oral chemo soon followed and it was while we were waiting for one of these MRIs that my wife picked up an information leaflet from SolarisCare and when by chance we walked past the centre on our way to the café my introduction to SolarisCare was complete.

SolarisCare Cancer Support Centres use Dry July funds

SolarisCare is using funds to purchase:

  • Electric massage chairs (Bunbury)
  • Aquarium (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)
  • Therapeutic massage tables
  • Additions to patient information libraries
  • Sound absorbing acoustic panels
  • Therapy room artwork
  • Music systems

The SolarisCare centres offer complementary therapy programs to cancer patients in Perth, Bunbury, and Albany, with most services provided by volunteers who are certified therapists.