IASLC Lung Cancer News is pleased to present the following Q&A with the staff of Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club, an organization in Shanghai, China, whose mission is ‘’spreading the idea that cancer does not equal death, carrying forward the work of cancer fighting groups, and ‘transcending life’.’’
Please describe the purpose of the Shanghai Cancer Club.
Shanghai Cancer Club is a self-help support group and non-governmental organization (NGO) voluntarily united by different cancer patients. “We fight cancer, we surmount the life new boundary,” is the ultimate goal of club members, who suffer from the threat of death and torture of disease, both physiologically and spiritually.
What does the Shanghai Cancer Club do? What systems are set up?
The patients in our club who are declared recovered take part in voluntary services to help other club members and patients with cancer enhance their confidence to fight against cancer.
The club has more than 16,000 members and a three-level management network, defined at the city, district, and activities station level. As the decisionmaking body of the club, the Members’ Congress sets up a Council and Board of Supervisors. Moreover, the club has 13 rehabilitation centers based on the types of cancer and 5 resource centers formed by cancer patients from the city’s highest-ranked hospitals (a class based on Chinese hospital management classification). An art troupe and different hobby groups (each group consists of 16 club members) were also founded by Shanghai Cancer Club.
What do you hope to accomplish?
We aim to publicize the concept of “group anti-cancer strategy” and to explore the potential role of non-drug intervention such as sports, psychology, and nutrition during cancer recovery. Our goal is to enhance the health literacy of those who suffer from cancer by means of health education and promotion. We hope to improve the quality of life and survival outcomes of our members so that they can possess the spirit of self-improvement, self-reliance and self-love in the face of adversity.
Is this free? Or are fees involved?
According to the club’s rules, each member is supposed to pay 50 RMB (USD$7.26 equivalent) as an annual membership fee. The dues that come from our members enable the club to offer members diverse activities. Members can also participate in various activities free of charge, for instance attending lectures on physical rehabilitation and participating in activities organized by the disease guidance center, attending members’ interest groups, etc.
Is there any lobbying of governmental agencies involved?
Or does the club mainly support patients through their cancer treatment? As an NGO, we get full support and help from Shanghai Charity Foundation, More Love Foundation, and community organizations. However, as an independent corporate body, we carry out the club management and operations independently.
The club conducts health education and promotion by developing activities that include psychological counseling, nutrition guidance, and exercise training. This is supplemental care designed to improve the quality of life of patients who have already received standard treatment in the hospital.
Guo Lin Qigong, psychological counseling, experience sharing by anti-cancer stars (successful fighters against cancer who give talks on their experience to club members), skin therapy, along with music and dance therapy, etc. are just some of the courses included in our club program. Furthermore, by integrating drum music therapy, drama healing, family care, and palliative care introduced from the US, we are trying to promote the ‘combination of education with recreation’ mode of the cancer education. The mission of the club is to use science to cure disease, to devote great love and care to life, and, finally, to bring hope to patients with cancer.
Are there separate groups for different cancers? For instance, is there a separate group for lung cancer vs colorectal cancer?
Yes, the club has multiple recovery guidance groups based on different cancers, including lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Specifically, 400 lung cancer members created a WeChat (a social mobile app) group online to share their thoughts and experience. We have also established Cancer Patients Resource Centers in Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital and Shanghai Chest Hospital. More than 30 recovered lung cancer patients perform voluntary service there as well.
What are your greatest successes?
The mental and physiological quality of our members’ lives has been significantly improved by taking part in various social activities that the club offers. Of note, with an average 5-year overall survival rate of 70%, our members get more survival benefits than other patients in China with cancer. In addition, we cooperate with institutions in China and abroad to support multiple scientific research and academic efforts.
The Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club’s goal, as stated on their website is “To enhance patients’ confidence in recovery through methods of group therapy, so that after their recovery they can become volunteers and help other cancer patients.” Their motto is: “Don’t ask what society can give to us; ask what we give to society.” IASLC Lung Cancer News thanks the Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club for this profile and looks forward to sharing information about other international patient advocacy groups in future issues.✦
1. Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club website. http://chinadevelopmentbrief.cn/directory/shanghai– cancer-recovery-club-上海癌症康复俱乐部 / Accessed May 8, 2017.