The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre

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No one is ever prepared for cancer, but The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre helps Queenslanders through the emotional turmoil and difficult decision making process following a diagnosis, throughout treatment and beyond, as well as focusing on wellness after cancer. Our unique programs aim to improve your quality of life and are available to both men and women regardless of where you receive treatment.

The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre, or Choices, is a free community service operated under The Wesley Hospital. Working within an interdisciplinary team from The Wesley Hospital, Choices provide a blend of clinical expertise, specialist peer support, complementary therapies, education and awareness to comprehensively support people with cancer, their family and friends.

To find out more please call us on 1800 227 27, email us on: [email protected] or drop in to our centre located at The Wesley Hospital.

Latest Updates

Dry July funds enable wellness activities to continue at Choices Cancer Support Centre

Dry July fundraising plus a generous grant from Dry July Foundation has enabled Choices Cancer Support Centre to continue to provide the following programs for people affected by cancer in our community.

1. Men's and Women’s Choices Gym Maintenance Program

For people completing cancer treatment, research demonstrates that maintaining an exercise program is an important factor in mitigating late and long-term side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. The exercise program also allows people to connect to others who are experiencing similar circumstances. Overall, this engagement can improve the mental health and wellbeing of our patients and directly impact their recovery.

2. Art, Writing, Music Therapies

Art, writing and music therapies have been proven to support and positively influence peoples wellbeing and rehabilitation during and after cancer treatment.

Writing may facilitate cognitive processing of the diagnosis and treatment relating to cancer. There is demonstrated benefit for patients in the palliative care setting where art and writing can be used to express thoughts and feelings not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.

Art involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, colouring or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art.

Music is different to music entertainment as it focuses on health, functioning and wellbeing. It is used to assist in many different situations, but is especially beneficial in supporting stress relief and managing anxiety and depression.

3. Wigs and Turbans

Hair loss is one of the most well-known side effects of cancer treatment. For many people, losing their hair can be extremely distressing and is often more feared than the treatment itself. This affects both men and women and is a constant reminder of what they are going through.

There is evidence that many women are concerned about their school-age and teen-age children who may feel uncomfortable because their mother’s appearance is different. For these women, wearing a wig often allows them to look “normal”, however many of our clients do not have the means for this additional expense. This support reduces the stress associated with the expense of sourcing and paying for a wig and positively impacts our patients’ emotional wellbeing.

Dry July funding helps The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre support people like Carly

Sometimes life throws you curve balls, the kind you never expected. Mine came in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis in 2019, it was just after my 30th birthday and I found a lump in Vietnam.

It can’t be cancer I assured myself, I’m far too young to get cancer. I was soon headed to Europe to start work in the busy summer tourist season ahead, but it wasn’t to be. On my return to London, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Not only was the lump cancerous but I had been told it had spread to my bones. I was told I had one chance and one chance only to fight this, I was also told I was going to die.

When I returned to Australia, I started all the medical treatments, but I knew that to beat cancer, medical treatments wouldn’t be enough. I would need to fight cancer with everything I had, by supporting my physical and my mental health, through support that must exist somewhere.

Throughout my treatment, Choices proved invaluable. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, when I needed advice to make treatment decisions, when I needed someone who could understand, who actually got it. Choices was there. The connections and the help available was a huge part of my recovery. The team at Choices supported me every step of the way and the lovely support from the other people that go to choices means I’m always in touch with people who know what’s its like to sit through chemo or across from the oncologist.

Now that I have a clean bill of health, I want to give back to the community in anyway that I can. By helping support organisations like Dry July and Choices. By advocating for people affected by cancer, especially in 2020 when many of our events and fundraisers are cancelled.

Life did indeed, throw me a curve ball, but choices helped me knock it right out of the park!

Read Carly’s full story here:

Wesley Hospital receives an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation

We're pleased to announce that Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre has received an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation October grant round.

This grant will enable the funding of a Men and Women's Choices Gym Maintenance Program.

For people completing cancer treatments, research demonstrates that maintaining an exercise program is essential to mitigate late and long term side effects of cancer and cancer treatment  

Dry July Foundation funds exercise program at Choices Cancer Support Centre

Thanks to funds raised through Dry July 2019, The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre will be able to fund a Women's and Men's intra and post treatment exercise program.

For people undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, research demonstrates that a tailored and accessible gym program, supervised by oncology exercise physiologists, has multiple benefits, including:

• Better treatment outcomes

• Reduction of recurrence risk

• Reduction of risks of other chronic diseases

• Reduction of fatigue

Combining an exercise program with appropriate education sessions provides patients with additional support to manage lifestyle changes resulting from treatment, including:

• Managing early, late and long term side effects of treatment

• Managing nutrition

• Managing exercise

• Peer support

How your fundraising is helping patients like Sue Bohler

Sue Bohler was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2018 and immediately commenced treatment at The Wesley Hospital.

At the time Sue’s doctor also recommended she seek out the expertise of The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre.

The Choices team, as they are known, are a free service that have helped throughout Sue’s treatment to make sure she had all the resources to look after her wellness. Sue says it was one of the best decisions she’s made.

“Choices not only gave me the tools to help me look after my health throughout my treatment, but they were an important part of me being able to take control of my diagnosis”

“I was able to attend Choices for their Women’s Wellness Program to support with nutrition, and exercise. I knew that at those sessions I was in a positive environment, it was always a safe haven for me.”

Sue underwent 25 rounds of radiation and six rounds of chemotherapy as part of her treatment plan and is now on 12 months of immunotherapy at The Wesley.

After the initial diagnosis left her shell-shocked and unsure of the path ahead, the emotional support and resources provided by Choices have helped her deal with an overwhelming diagnosis of cancer.

While her treatment has been difficult, the safe space of Choices has allowed her to continue to exercising through yoga and equipped her with the resources to help her husband and daughter better understand about her cancer.

“There is a significant stigma around lung cancer. I have always been active and healthy person so it can be a difficult time to understand what is going on,” she said

“For my family to know that I can come to Choices to talk about my diagnosis and seek some support, it is invaluable and gives me peace of mind.”

The wonderful team at Choices are an incredible wealth of knowledge and will be celebrating 21 years of the Choices program in 2019.

Without the support of fundraisers like all those participating in Dry July, they would not be able to support people like Sue.

Thank you for your support of Choices by committing to go Dry this July.

Pictured: Sue with therapist, Kathy, and volunteer receptionist, Barb