United Nations Cancer Support Group (ucan)

What is UCAN?

Ucan is a cancer support group initiated by staff members at the United Nations Office at Nairobi who are cancer survivors.

Fueled by the loneliness of the cancer journey, our goal is to help fellow colleagues and their caregivers cope with the devastating effects that a cancer diagnosis causes to one’s life.

Joining a cancer support group is one of the best ways to cope with your diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment issues. Ucan will allow you to connect with fellow colleagues who are going through the same experience and empower you to move beyond your diagnosis and overcome any challenges.

Ucan is not an acronym. It is a shout of encouragement  that you can survive. That you are not alone on this journey and that it can be easier.

Why a Cancer Support Group?

Studies have shown that positive support is beneficial to people who have been affected by cancer. Within a support group, you are offered a place to connect with others who have had similar experiences as yours and can share your own concerns. This will help you cope with the situation – during and after treatment and help you build strength and resilience and find hope.

What happens in a Support Group?

It’s an in-person forum where patients share their stories, reflect on their experiences, voice their concerns, provide resources and connect with others undergoing similar experiences.

Members offer each other comfort, support, information, and suggestions for coping with potential challenges during and after treatment.

Many people who have attended a support group say it helps to talk to others who have gone through a similar experience. Others have commented that being around people who understood helped them overcome the sense of isolation they had experienced.

What kind of environment should you expect?

The support group provides a safe, positive and supportive environment for all cancer patients and survivors who have been diagnosed with any type of cancer.

How will you benefit?

You will receive support from others who understand, share information and learn from them. You will experience a comforting sense of belonging and be reassured. It will be a safe place to give and receive support and you will experience improved self-confidence and self-esteem.

You will connect with others, maintain a positive focus and self-mage, build a support network, and learn coping and relaxation strategies.

Can you talk to someone within the group?

Yes. Although everyone’s diagnosis and treatment differs, there is someone who has been through what you are going through and who will be able to talk to you and reassure you about your experience.

Are there age limits?

No. There are no age limits. We hope to cover a wide age range from the young to the old. But it does help to speak to someone your own age at the group who understands.

Who should come?

The group will be open to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. It is designed to act as a forum for those affected by cancer to share experiences and information and to provide each other with support and encouragement.

Who will be facilitating?

This will be a peer facilitated group. A peer facilitator is a person who has been affected by cancer, either by being a cancer survivor, or a carer or family member of a person affected by cancer, who wants to facilitate a cancer support group for people with similar experiences.

Are there any health professionals involved?

Yes. The support group is being held in close collaboration with the UNON Joint Medical Services whose mission is to increase public awareness of cancers. Specialist guest speakers will join us from time to time to discuss a variety of topics.

How can you help?

Join us! Come share your story. Come help facilitate. Come encourage and support.

Anyone with a heart for people who are affected by cancer is welcome!

When and where are the meetings held?

The meetings will be held monthly within the UNON Complex. For more details on venue and timings, please contact Evelyne or Winnie; contact details indicated below.

How can you reach us?

For further information about the group, you can write us on u.can@unon.org

or contact:

Evelyne Katembo

UNON Joint Medical Service

ext: 21670

evelyne.katembo@unon.org

and/or

Winnie Kung’u

ext: 24098

winnie.kungu@unon.org

“you are not alone in this fight”