Improving quality of life care for late stage cancer patients in Samoa- the givers
Having the necessary resources on hand to provide quality care for a cancer patient living with late stage cancer especially at home, can be a challenge for many families affected in Samoa.This need has been expressed by patients living with cancer or family members that visit or have registered with the Samoa Cancer Society (SCS) in the past 20 years.
The cry for help has not gone unnoticed. The Society along with its partners and stakeholders have been working together to give the necessary resources and keep the supply flowing consistently each year.
The team at Lucky Foodtown is once such giver who since 2017 have been supplying adult diapers for late stage cancer patients who are registered with SCS.
The diaper supplies is a huge saving for the family of a cancer patient who would have to spend $80 tala or more for a pack of 10 diapers which would only last the patient 10 days or less. However this resource is required every day during the care of a cancer patient in late stages of cancer of any type presented to the Society.
Another popular resource that is high in demand are the colostomy bags for patients with bowel cancer or colorectal cancer. According to Shelley Burich, CEO of Samoa Cancer Society, in her five years at the Society, the colostomy bags “is one product that I’ve noted continues to be in high demand which is indicative of the rising number of our Samoan people affected with bowel cancer or colorectal cancer. Here at the society we make a note of every item that is supplied to our late stage cancer patients in palliative care and our records show that while we continue to supply for existing patients living with cancer, there continues to be new patients added to the list”. Shelley added that of the top 3 cancers presented to the Society, the second is colorectal cancer with a total of 61 presented to the Society.
The Society has been in discussion with certain suppliers overseas who wish to contribute towards efforts in providing quality care for breast cancer patients following a mastectomy, a procedure involving the removal of or part of a woman’s breast. The procedure can be overwhelming for a breast cancer patient and supplying breast prosthetics is one way that the Society believes can help give the sense of normality and self-confidence for a breast cancer patient who may already be living with extra responsibilities placed upon them including work, household duties, and caring for other family members.
There are givers like Rotary Club of Samoa that understand the value of a wheelchair or a walking frame to a family of a cancer patient in order to provide daily care with practicality and comfort for the patient while at the same time alleviate any further challenges to the caregiver’s health.
Shelley acknowledges the long standing partnership between the Samoa Cancer Society and fellow stakeholders who continue to give to the cancer patients through the society. She added that while “the physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment may be different from person to person with the impact on families affected even greater, they do not have to fight alone.Providing non clinical palliative care through weekly visitations to the homes of patients and identifying the needs that we can provide is of high importance to the Samoa Cancer Society. The ‘Pink Car’ compliments of ANZ, Autosaver & NPI enables these visitations for the Society.The financial struggle is real for families of those living with cancer. However, the supplies will go a long way in helping families provide quality care with pride which in Samoa is regarded as a blessing.