Haus der Krebsliga beider Basel – A New Door Opens for Cancer Patients in Basel

When a novel cancer support centre modelled on the UK’s Maggie’s Centres was announced in Basel, to be situated in an elegant patrician house on the Petersplatz in the heart of town, someone commented to me: “Do they really need such a great big beautiful place [just] for cancer patients?” I was stunned by the question. But after a bit, it dawned on me that to many people (maybe especially in Switzerland, where the concept is brand-new and unknown), the idea of converting a beautiful, historic monument at considerable expense into an informal walk-in centre offering free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends sounds – well, what does it sound? Unnecessary? Over the top? Superfluous? Weird, even?

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Luckily for anyone in Basel affected by cancer, Krebsliga Beider Basel has gone ahead (thanks to a magnificent, anonymous donation) and done it anyway. Their new centre had its official opening on 17 November and it’s breathtaking.

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If you’re aware of  Maggie’s Centres in the UK, you will know where this Basel venture is coming from. Maggie’s Centres are all situated in beautiful buildings – the house on the Petersplatz, built in 1860 by Emanuel Burckhardt, faithfully restored and beautifully modernised, ticks that particular box in spades. The architects have been respectful of the building’s original fabric, leaving all the ceiling mouldings, original windows (and fastenings) and doors in place. They’ve even restored to full working order the beautiful decorated ceramic stoves (Kacheloefen).

 

The result (just as for Maggie’s Centres, and borrowing some of their text) is a “warm, friendly, inspiring place, full of light, whose objective is to contribute to the continued wellbeing of an individual as they progress through cancer treatment.” Nothing superfluous, or OTT, or weird, just kind, and caring, and useful.

Office admin and all the services formerly offered in the Krebsliga offices in Mittlere Strasse (personal and family advice and support, links to home help and rehab organisations, advice on work and housing issues etc.) have transferred to the new premises on the Petersplatz. In addition, mammography screening and some psycho-social support programmes are administered from here. There are handicraft and art courses and support group meetings, as well as a reading room/library and a welcoming front room with coffee and tea on tap.

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We plan to contribute our growing library of books and resources in English to their reference room, where they will set aside a section for information in English. We also hope to schedule some of our own meetings there. It’s a wonderful and most welcome initiative for Basel. For more information, all contact details are below:

Haus der Krebsliga beider Basel
Petersplatz 12
Basel
Tel. +41 (0)61 319 99 88
Open weekdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

info@klbb.ch 

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Conventional, alternative and complementary therapies in the treatment of cancer

There’s an interesting and thought-provoking article just out in The Guardian, published in London, by an oncologist who practises in Britain’s National Health Service. It raises important questions about why some people opt for untried, untested ‘therapies’ as against trialled remedies of proven efficacy.

You can read the full article here.

Alison goes for Pink (Jeremy too!!)

Alison and Jeremy Pink Ribbon Walk 2014One of our members (together with her intrepid husband) recently took part in the 2014 Pink Ribbon Walk at Blenheim Palace in the UK. She was walking with a purpose – well, two actually: firstly in memory of our dear friend Sheena and secondly, to raise money (£3500 no less) for the excellent organisation Breast Cancer Care. Great work, both of you – definitely looking in the pink of condition!!

Based in the UK, BCC is a fine organisation that brings people together, provides information and support, and campaigns for improved standards of care in breast cancer. Here at Cancer Support Basel we hold a number of their excellent, clear, informative leaflets on various subjects related to breast cancer, which are freely available to our members. We’re delighted Alison could remember Sheena in such a positive way as well as raising such a terrific sum for a worthwhile cause.

 

Tiredness after Breast Cancer

Over the years since our group was formed (back in 2001), we’ve had many people commenting on the perennial problem of tiredness after breast cancer treatment – and not only in the immediate aftermath, but many months and sometimes years after.

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Heartsease pansies

I recently retrieved the excellent article printed below, which appeared originally in the Leben Wie Zuvor quarterly Bulletin. It was written by a wonderful woman named Professor Christa Cerni, a research scientist in the field of oncology, for many years a regular contributor to the Bulletin and an inspiring speaker at Leben Wie Zuvor conferences and seminars.

Here’s what she wrote – and if you’re one of those people still suffering from fatigue, months or years on, I hope it will offer some comfort: Continue reading

Angelina Jolie’s Preventive Mastectomy

Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy, which she explained in her recent essay in the New York Times, has drawn praise and criticism in almost equal measure, provoking intense debate in the cybersphere – and within our own group.

One of our members forwarded me this thoughtful article from WebMD, which underlines the difficult choices facing women who find out they have a high risk for breast cancer because of a genetic mutation.

This headline news has worried and unsettled many people. However, as the WebMD article points out, Jolie’s medical situation is extremely unusual, comparable with only a tiny minority of breast cancer cases.

If you too have been worried and unsettled by the news and need a fuller understanding of the issues, don’t hesitate to speak to a specialist (your GP, oncologist, gynaecologist). They are best placed to talk through the issues with you and to help you put the matter into perspective.