The Cancer Kinship Story: Disease Literacy Saves Lives
The cancer survivor and “thriver” – a more inclusive term for people living with cancer – community is growing – since 1991, there has been a continuous decline in cancer deaths. However, much of the support for the patient comes during diagnosis and treatment.
After treatment, survivors often wonder, “what now?”
The Cancer Kinship Mission
What is Cancer Kinship?
Cancer Kinship is a nonprofit organization that uses its programs to address the psychosocial and emotional implications of a cancer diagnosis and alleviate the various challenges associated with survivorship, including social determinants of health.
“After losing my sister to metastatic breast cancer in 2014, I founded Cancer Kinship as an eight-year cancer survivor,” stated Executive Director and Founder of Cancer Kinship, Yolanda Origel. “Her story continues to be a part of my recovery process and is the driving force behind Cancer Kinship’s mission.”
Cancer Kinship hopes to reduce cancer recurrence risks and improve the quality of life of the ever-growing cancer survivor community!
Consider This: September is Disease Awareness Month; let’s consider our health and wellness, let’s take proactive measures to increase our disease literacy.
Importance of Early Detection
The earlier someone can detect cancer, the higher the chances of survival. Nevertheless, screenings, including diagnosis and treatment of cancer, were adversely affected during the pandemic. People could not receive these valuable screenings, which resulted in a short-term drop in early-stage cancers, but an uptick in stage four cancers and mortality. It is important to move forward with a proactive and preventative approach, one which focuses on physical, spiritual, and mental health.
As of 2022, there is a backlog for all sorts of cancer screenings –however, even if you have to get on a waitlist, the sooner you can schedule a screening, the better. Please individually discuss your unique medical situation and consult with your doctor.
Cancer Kinship provides community resource navigation and empowerment programs to lessen the stress of getting an appointment. By offering resources, programs, and engagement, Cancer Kinship is able to provide easier access for community members to get connected with local screening options, receive tips on how to be a true advocate for their (or their loved one’s) healthcare needs, as well as to feel supported through love, faith, and personal connection through the entire journey.
Addressing Mental Health
There are so many aspects to beating cancer, ones that often go unspoken. It could be said that, while early detection is critical, mental health is equally important for the cancer survival and thriving journey. Unfortunately, many are unaware that depression and anxiety can hinder cancer treatment and recovery, ultimately leading to reoccurrence, and reducing chances of survival. Another reason why community, family, friends, the church, and loved ones play a vital role in growth, improvement, and lifelong wellness.
Moreover, suicide is much higher amongst those in the cancer community, when compared with those who never received a cancer diagnosis or treatment. Suicide is also more likely in the initial year after diagnosis, and can vary based on the type, and prognosis, of cancer. Understanding ones diagnosis from the lens and eyes of one’s doctor is vital, but connecting with a support group outside of the hospital is necessary.
“I am very passionate about addressing mental health challenges, as a way to reduce cancer recurrence in cancer survivors,” expressed Executive Director and Founder of Cancer Kinship, Yolanda Origel.
“Frequently, I will share with cancer patients and survivors the different coping mechanisms I have utilized in my life to lessen anxiety. Regular exercise, hiking, and nutrition have been great sources of stress relief, including my faith and prayer life, which are essential to overcoming mental health issues.”
Upcoming Cancer Kinship Programs
Cancer Kinship has several exciting programs that inspire confidence in cancer patients and “thrivers,” the Cancer Kinship name for the cancer community of survivors.
In October, the Cancer Kinship sponsored, free wig program, “Kinner Beauty,” will officially open its salon in Brea, CA. Also happening in October, Cancer Kinship is launching a survivor empowerment program, a six-week series where participants connect and build-on their thriver community, all while improving their confidence and self-esteem, which are both important components of one’s mental health and wellness.
The empowerment program will culminate in the Cancer Kinship, November fashion show, which is Cancer Kinship’s signature fundraising event of the year. As the celebratory finale of the empowerment program, the fashion show allows the friends and family of the models to see them in a different light, not sick and sad, but happy, emboldened, and empowered by the power of their story of survivorship.
These Amazing Programs are Available to UHSM Members
UHSM’s Compassionate Care Team partnered with Cancer Kinship to help patients and their loved ones adjust to cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. To learn more, visit the Compassionate Care Team page or the UHSM website, to learn more about their memberships, perks, and success stories!
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“Preventative & Proactive Approaches to Health”
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