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Next Steps: Making a Plan with Cancer in Mind

Intended Audience

All members including people living with cancer, family members and significant caregivers.

Program Description

Making a plan to move forward with your life, while factoring in cancer, can be a challenge. How has your outlook changed? What feels comfortable and right in your world? What feels possible or impossible? How do you recreate goals with cancer on the side? In this four-week program you will kick-start your new outlook by building confidence, finding secure footing, and exploring the next steps that feel right for you.

What to Expect at a Session

We begin this program by viewing the award-winning National Geographic documentary titled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” This sets the tone for meaningful reflection, thoughtful group discussion, and fun, as you begin to lay the foundation of your new path. In subsequent weeks you will learn about your sensory learning style, how to become a ‘design thinker,’ how to strengthen your communication skills, and how to surround yourself with a solid support team. By the end of this discovery process, you should feel empowered to build a personal action plan that balances your practical and daily needs with your hopes, wishes and lifelong dreams.

Benefits and Impact

Cancer patients often face several challenges with transitioning into a new normal following a cancer diagnosis. Common difficulties include dealing with symptom burden, managing medications, and losing a sense of direction and self-efficacy (Cavers et al., 2019). The Next Steps program aims to help members adjust to these difficulties by developing strategies for independent decision-making, self-management, and building a personal support team. The program also places emphasis on celebrating members’ strengths and bringing ‘playful fun’ back into members’ lives. In the program, members will also develop a personal action plan based on design thinking, a type of thought process that has been suggested to improve problem solving skills (Razzouk & Shute, 2012). Recent literature suggests that similar self-management-focused interventions can improve quality of life, emotional distress, and self-efficacy in cancer survivors (Jefford et al., 2022).  

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