Category Archives: Support Group Events

[A]nother Plea for a Ban on Battle Terminology re Cancer

Yet again, the Guardian has an excellent piece here on how unhelpful – or even harmful – the battle terminology is for many people when referring to cancer.  Ian Sample, Science Editor and the author of the piece, quotes a mother of two living with metastatic, incurable breast cancer:

“You feel like you’re letting people down if you can’t manage permanent positivity or you have an emotionally wobbly day. It’s not constructive or helpful when you’re focusing on getting through the day-to-day living of a cancer diagnosis and treatment schedule. I prefer clear, factual language, so I describe myself as “living” with incurable cancer. I’m not brave or inspirational, I’m just trying to live the life I have left well.”

Here at Cancer Support Basel we have members who are living with cancer. Our job is to celebrate and support them. Let’s ditch the battle-speak, with its inevitable implications of winners and losers. (Is this language just another example of the patriarchy at work? I wonder how many women feel comfortable with this violent, warring terminology?) It’s time to push back against the talk about ‘fighting’, ‘beating’ or ‘battling with’ cancer, whether in our own everyday usage or – as is often the case – in ad campaigns by fundraisers. (“Your support will help us beat cancer”, Cancer Research UK; Susan Komen, “the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer”, etc. etc.)

For information on when and where our next meeting will be held, please email us on and we’ll be happy to send details.

And please note: by clicking on any of the headings in the banner above you can get information on the many and varied services on offer in Basel for people affected by cancer.



The English Show, Basel

This week I was invited onto The English Show, our local radio station (Radio X, 94.5 FM), to introduce Cancer Support Basel. The show, which goes out weekly with topical stuff of interest to the English-speaking community, focused this time on cancer and the different elements of care and support on offer in and around Basel.

Here’s the link:

If you need more extensive information on what we do, feel free to click on any of the links in the banner above, especially About Cancer Support Basel.

Thanks again to Anna Wirz and all the English Show team for the opportunity to introduce our group, to explain how it came about and what we do.



April Support Group Meeting

Chocolate Easter egg from Bettys, Yorkshire, made with best Swiss chocolate

We’ll meet again on Friday 13th April at a central location in Basel for lunch, followed by our meeting at the beautiful, newly restored Haus der Krebsliga on Petersplatz – read all about this inspiring place here on our site. Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to join us for lunch and/or the meeting by sending a mail on

Wishing everyone a wonderful, warm Easter and plenty of treats, whether of the edible or huggable variety.


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?


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.


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.


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
Tel. +41 (0)61 319 99 88
Open weekdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

A New Cancer Support Centre for Basel

This striking house on the beautiful Petersplatz in central Basel, currently a building site, will become the Krebsliga Beider Basel’s drop-in centre/meeting place for cancer patients, thanks to a mind-blowingly generous bequest from an anonymous donor. It will open at the end of September and is modelled on Maggie’s Centres in the UK, where cancer sufferers can go for help, advice, support or just to hang out in a beautiful place and gather strength. Many of the staff on hand speak English, and 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 fabulous development, a fantastic resource for the city and a first for Basel. Watch this space for more news as it unfolds. And if you’re not familiar with Maggie’s Centres, take a look at their website, here, to get an idea of the kind of services and facilities they offer, some of which will be replicated in the Basel Krebsliga house.

End of Year News and January Meeting

It’s the time of year when many people are super-busy, or travelling, or maybe just lying low, staying warm and gathering their strength for whatever lies ahead. For this and many other reasons we won’t have our usual monthly meeting during December.

We will get together in January for our now customary annual New Year’s lunch. The date we have in mind (TBC) is Friday 15th January. Watch this space for more news of this. In February we will be meeting again as usual in a central Basel location.

In the meantime, we would like to wish everyone all the best for Christmas, wherever and with whomever you may be spending it, and continued good wishes for the New Year.

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.


Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

cropped-ticino-bridge.jpgIn February we promised more on the topic of mindfulness, specifically in relation to reducing stress when dealing with cancer. Cancer Support Basel is delighted to announce the following event:

Date: 29 April 2014
Place: Krebsliga, Mittlere Strasse 35, Basel
Time: 18.30 to 20.00 Continue reading Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Mindfulness and Cancer

Sweet Williams for May by Sue StyleDo you find yourself stumbling over frequent references to mindfulness nowadays, in all kinds of contexts ranging from stress reduction to healthy eating? A member of our group recently alerted me to an article in The Guardian on the value of mindfulness in dealing with cancer:

Cancer Support Basel is planning to organise an introductory session to the concept and practice of mindfulness some time this spring. Watch this space – and/or please contact us on if you’re interested in joining such a session, which would be an evening event in Basel, most likely at the Krebsliga centre.

Alison takes a (pink) walk

One of our members recently joined the Breast Cancer Care Ribbon Walk in the UK to raise money for this great BC charity. Alison writes:

I just wanted to say a big thank you to those of you who sponsored me on the “Ribbon Walk” for breast cancer care.  We had a great day and were helped along with blue sky, sunshine and plenty of stops for food and drink!
The warm up was done by Diana Moran (the green goddess for those of you who remember her!) and we set off in a sea of pink at 12.30 pm sharp. My husband Jeremy and our two friends finished the walk in four hours including a stop for a picnic!  Attached is a picture of us at the finish, having received our medals.

I don’t have a final figure as yet, but at the last count Jeremy and I had raised £3,500 which is fantastic!
What a fabulous result, Alison! Breast Cancer Care is a great organisation (, which 0ffers many resources on BC including information leaflets, of which we have copies (let me know on if you’re interested). They also offer a sympathetic helpline, and their services are  free – which makes fundraisers like Alison all the more important.