“Stage Zero’s 12 steps comprise the new curriculum
highly encouraged for women with breast cancer.
Each step focuses on a specific topic, such as
pain, anger, family, or intimacy.”
– Dr. Stef dela Cruz, stefdelacruz.com
To strongly reinforce the Patient Active Concept, Project Pink has the ’12 Steps to Stage Zero’ Support Group Program. Over the course of a year, the group tackles specific topics and obstacles that a cancer survivor would normally face.
The purpose of the Cancer Support Group is to provide a venue where cancer conquerors can learn and draw strength for their journey, through the regular meeting with other cancer conquerors and through going through the twelve step “Stage Zero Curriculum”.
Currently, Project Pink meets in the last week of the month. Visit the Calendar for the full schedule.
12 Steps to Stage Zero
Step 1: Control Stress
The first step is acknowledging the causes of stress that are out of our control and within our control. Be more aware of your emotions throughout the journey. You may not be able to control your emotions, but you can minimize the effect of unpleasant emotions and maximize the effect of pleasant ones.
Step 2: Regain, Maintain and Sustain Hope
Despite what some myths might say, hopelessness and helplessness are not realistic in most cases of cancer. In fact, for the great majority, hope is very reasonable. In this step, learn more about how to keep holding on.
Step 3: Anger – Identify It, Examine, It, Get Rid of It
“The first aim of the cancer patient, as far as anger is concerned, is to become aware of repressed anger if any there is, and bring to consciousness where it can be dealt with. The second aim is to consciously choose how to deal with it.”
Step 4: Eliminate Myths about Cancer
Believing in misconceptions about cancer can actually do you more harm than good. In this step, we clear up common false myths about cancer together and find the factual truth.
Step 5: Don’t be Reclusive and Seek Family Harmony
“Cancer … is significantly influenced by human companionship.” – James J. Lynch
Relationships are a deeply ingrained part of our humanity. Though cancer patients may be prone to unwanted aloneness, even at home, patients who retreat inwards and family/friends who move away can learn ways to deal with the issue of abandonment.
Step 6: Spend Time with Other Cancer Patients
It is worth it to also be with other cancer patients who understand what you’re going through. Whether you join a support group or find companionship through other means, there is great significance in finding an extended family who share your journey.
Step 7: Form a Partnership with Your Physician
“No longer are patients seen as passive recipients of health care… rather they are increasingly regarded as active decision makers.” – Irving L. Janis, Handbook of Behavioral Medicine
Confidence in your doctor is key. This is being patient active: combining both the efforts of the patient and the physician.
Step 8: Pain – Don’t Put Up with It
Each of us responds to pain differently: what may be unbearable for some can be minimal for others. The key is to be able to identify the intensity of your own pain. Just because you have cancer doesn’t mean you have to suffer with pain. Learn some key methods to keeping your doctor informed about how you’re doing physically.
Step 9: Make Plans for the Future
You may have stopped making plans for the future because you subconsciously think there is no future to plan for. Together we will get to practice this simple ‘trick’ that can boost your morale. Take heart, and don’t lose hope.
Step 10: Continue to Enjoy Intimacy
Amidst the stress, physical symptoms and emotional trials that take a toll on your responsiveness to touch, comfort and connection with others, the most important tool to solve these problems is communication. Learn how to get the conversation going again, particularly with your partner.
Step 11: Be Careful of What You Eat and Exercise Regularly
Just as we must do even without a diagnosis, a proper diet and active lifestyle is key to keeping in good health. What you eat plays a part in maintaining and regaining health. Learn more about the specifics of nutrition for cancer patients in this informative topic.
Step 12: Volunteer
“Those who volunteer seems to be happier than those who don’t.” – Harold H. Benjamin, Ph.D
There is just something about helping others that, in turn, helps you as well. It may not necessarily have a scientifically proven effect on health, but it makes people feel good—and that may be reason enough to do it.
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities with Project Pink. If you would like to get involved, feel free to get in touch with us.
*All the above descriptions of each step, unless otherwise specified, are sourced from Harold H. Benjamin, Ph.D.’s book, ‘The Wellness Community: Guide to Fighting for Recovery from Cancer’, copyright 1995