Sisters’ Cancer Support Group
A NSW community initiative is giving women from multicultural backgrounds support and education through their cancer journey.
Sisters’ Cancer Support Group is a volunteer-run organisation based in the Illawarra region, located in the mid-south coast of NSW.
Women from a range of cultures and backgrounds, get together monthly to share their personal journeys and build social, emotional and spiritual support.
Each session incorporates a form of gentle exercise, and education session to empower women to better manage their health after cancer treatment.
Why is it important to offer cancer support for multicultural communities?
There can be a stigma around cancer in many multicultural communities, and some people might not have existing support networks who can help.
Some multicultural communities in NSW experience a higher burden of cancer through increased rates of incidence and mortality.
Many are also less likely to use screening or cancer support services, and could experience poorer outcomes during and after cancer treatment.
How was the Group established?
Thit Tieu was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.
She is now cancer-free, but her own experience led her to see that Muslim women need more support throughout this challenging time.
“You really need someone there, just to hold your hand or support you,” Thit says.
“You might find close friends drop off because they just don’t know what to say and how to talk to you.”
Sisters’ Cancer Support Group is a safe environment where women can come and openly discuss the things they do, what they are feeling, what they are doing, and share knowledge.
How is it helping women?
Services include monthly support groups and wellness retreats, designed specifically to help women from multicultural and Muslim communities through their experience with cancer.
“Knowing about other peoples’ journeys – to get to know other cancer survivors going on the journey is important,” says Eifat.
Eifat got involved in Sisters Cancer Support Group after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 for a second time.
“Joining the Group in Wollongong, that’s really helped me.”
“Because they’re Muslim I can talk to them better because we have something in common – our faith.”
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