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Men with cancer get their own rehab group

On Wednesday 20 January, special talk therapy and yoga groups for men with cancer will start at the University Hospital. The self-help course, which is free of charge, is given on Wednesdays at 3pm at the Oncology Clinic.

 Conversational therapy and yoga have been available as a self-help course at Akademiska Krankenhuset since 2006. So far, more than 800 cancer patients have attended the five-week course, which includes cognitive talk therapy, dietary advice and information sessions on various topics in addition to yoga sessions. The aim is to help participants find new ways and strategies to deal with life issues and to encourage exercise and meeting others in a similar situation. Thanks to a grant from Cancer Aid, the courses are free of charge for all participants from this year onwards.

- The new men's groups aim to meet men's special needs and issues," says Ann-Charlotte Pellettieri, psychotherapist and project manager. A cancer diagnosis often involves great physical and emotional strain. Pain and stiffness in the joints are not uncommon. Difficulty sleeping and anxiety, combined with a weakened immune system, cause many people to isolate themselves.

Participants are of different ages and come from oncology, urology, pulmonology or haematology. Some have just been diagnosed while others have suffered relapses. A smaller group is medically complete.

- They draw strength from each other and learn different techniques to rest in the present and draw strength from there. Some participants have participated in rounds for several years. It is precisely this breadth that is the strength of rehabilitation," says Ann-Charlotte Pellettieri.

Two evaluations of the effects of the therapy on cancer patients are currently underway, one of which was commissioned by the County Council of Uppsala. Around 100 participants are answering questions about the impact of rehabilitation on both psychological well-being and quality of life. The second study is part of two nursing students' c-thesis.

 The self-help course is organised by a team of oncologists, nurses, yoga teachers, a counsellor, a certified nutritionist and an image therapist.

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