Cancer Resource Centre educates individuals about cancer through free groups, programs, and classes

Cancer Resource Centre educates individuals about cancer through free groups, programs, and classes

While the basics of cancer may be public knowledge, it is a complex, multifaceted disease that can have more than one approach to diagnosis, treatment and recovery. When an individual receives a cancer diagnosis, they naturally want to know more about what is happening to their bodies. Since 2003, Cancer Resource Centre, a program of Community Cancer Research Foundation, has provided space and resources for individuals experiencing cancer and for their families to learn more about this complex disease and holistic healing.  

Cancer Resource Centre, located in Munster, is part of Community Healthcare System and offers its services free of charge to both people receiving treatment from a hospital within its system and people receiving treatment elsewhere. This is possible through grants, donations, volunteer support, and fundraisers. The largest annual fundraiser is called Unite & Fight Cancer, which is a fun run and 5K event.

“Over nearly two decades we have worked hard to create long-lasting relationships with other organizations in Northwest Indiana that can help provide much-needed services to cancer patients and their loved ones,” said Vita Ayala, outreach coordinator at Cancer Resource Centre. “We also continue to work with our area representatives from national organizations, such as American Cancer Society, that continue to help us educate our patients and ourselves as cancer care and treatments are ever-evolving.” 

At the facility, individuals have access to a library stocked with books, videotapes, computers, and other educational materials that allow them to educate themselves on research and information surrounding cancer.  

Beyond individual study, Cancer Resource Centre offers educational programs, support groups, and classes where people can gather together and learn from professionals. As of January 2021, the Centre has offered virtual support groups to give patients and their caregivers the opportunity to support one another while remaining socially distant. All support groups are facilitated by social workers who have a personal connection to cancer. 

“We currently offer five virtual support groups, including two wellness groups for patients with any type of cancer, along with support groups for caregivers, breast cancer patients, and gynecological cancer patients,” said Anthony Andello, manager of outreach at Cancer Resource Centre. “We also offer a monthly virtual art therapy session and a number of one-time sessions on topics such as journaling, chair yoga, and chi gong.” 

“Cancer doesn’t take a break during the pandemic and the need for support is as crucial as before,” Andello continued. “While some of our programs and classes have been put on pause for the time being, our patients will be able to continue to seek comfort, solace, and a new path on their road to recovery when we resume our regular programming thanks to our good neighbors.” 

When the Centre opens once again for in-person groups and programs, Andello said programs implemented for social distancing purposes will continue. Reopening the Centre will also allow the staff to offer additional resources at the main facility in Munster as well quarterly classes and programs at the Valparaiso Health Center of St. Mary Medical Center. There is an on-site social worker from the Community Cancer Research Foundation who assists with these offerings at the facility located at 926 Ridge Road in Munster. 

Community Healthcare System’s Cancer Research Foundation and its support program – the Cancer Resource Centre – are part of the wide scope of cancer care continuum offered by the hospitals so that patients can access care close to home. Marie Macke, administrator of cancer care services at Community Healthcare System, said the Centre is just one example of Community Healthcare System’s commitment to serving patients.  

“The hospitals of Community Healthcare System consistently set the standards of offering new technologies and approaches in treatment that positively affect quality and outcomes for our patients,” Macke said. “The Cancer Research Foundation is a clinical trial site of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) here in Northern Indiana. We are now affiliated with NCORP, an NCI Community Oncology Research Program. NCORP is comprised of seven research bases and 46 community sites. This provides cancer patients greater access to a wider variety of national clinical trials in our community close to home.” 

For more information on Cancer Resource Centre’s mind-body-spirit programs and a complete listing of upcoming virtual and in-person classes and events, click here or call 219-836-3349.