Cancer Coaches are dedicated volunteers located across Canada who have received special training and certification in the medical and surgical treatment of colorectal cancer, psychosocial coping, navigation of the healthcare system and so much more. Patients may be referred to their local Cancer Coach (through email or phone) when they contact us requesting information or support. All Cancer Coaches are under the direction of our qualified staff and Medical Advisory Board.

Cancer Coaches provide support and information in a myriad of ways including over the phone, online and through face to face meetings if specifically requested to do so. Every effort is made by Cancer Coaches to ensure that a first response to a query is provided within 24 hours. All Cancer Coaches are supervised by our full-time Director of Education to assist them in their responses. CCC’s Medical Advisory Board can be called upon as necessary to ensure the delivery of the highest quality of information.

Did You Know…..

  1. Patients who have social support are healthier than those who do not?
  2. Cancer Coaches can furnish patients and caregivers with information on treatment-related side effects, hereditary syndromes, testing and registries as well as access to new and evolving therapies?

The responsibilities of a Cancer Coach are as follows:

  • To address queries by phone, email or in person
  • Complete a Cancer Coach Program Record (‘CCPR’) for each query for centralized record keeping
  • Have an openness to join in a community of like-minded Cancer Coaches
  • Have a willingness to train and develop skills in active listening and increase their knowledge of colorectal cancer management
  • Have a capacity to network with others in fact-finding on behalf of patients in need

Cancer Coaches provide patients and caregivers with information relating to the following topics:

  • Psychosocial support
  • Navigation of the healthcare system
  • Treatment and management of colorectal cancer
  • Access to new and evolving therapies
  • Treatment-related side effects
  • Screening
  • Information on hereditary syndromes, testing and registries

CCC surveyed patients and caregivers who have accessed Cancer Coaches over the years. We asked what benefits if any did they feel they experienced from accessing a Cancer Coach:

  • Learning more about their cancer
  • Feeling life is more meaningful
  • Better perspective on illness
  • Access to highly skilled experts through second opinions and referrals
  • More aware of needs
  • Able to talk with family and friends about my cancer
  • Able to cope with disease and medical procedures
  • Improved outcomes from accessing novel treatments
  • Feeling empowered and in control

As a result of accessing the Cancer Coach Program, a number of patients have been able to obtain novel therapies both within and outside of Canada to treat their disease.

“The Cancer Coach Program saved my life. Because of the information I was provided, I was able to access Avastin in Buffalo and then went on to have the much-needed lung surgery to cure me of stage IV colon cancer. 8 years later I am still disease free because of CCC! Thank you!!”

Linda Wilkins, Stage IV Survivor

Facilitating referrals for second opinions has also led to improved patient outcomes resulting from a change in treatment plans.

“My Cancer Coach’s support, knowledge and connections in the colorectal cancer community helped me make informed decisions and got me fast-tracked into a world-class facility and best possible treatment for me. Her compassion, unremitting encouragement, help in navigating the medical system and unfailing willingness to do whatever it takes has helped me access a therapy I would not have otherwise accessed had I stayed in the community hospital I started in. I honestly don't know where I would be without her and CCC.”

Bob Mountford, Stage IV Patient

CCC continues to receive positive feedback from the patients and caregivers it has served through the Cancer Coach Program. Some of the widely-observed benefits of the Program as reported by Cancer Coaches, patients, caregivers and Medical Advisory Board Members are:

  • It is effective in lowering anxiety, reducing distress, improving a sense of personal control, and fostering acceptance and peace
  • It is adaptable for use at home and in small groups, for one-on-one teaching, or as a seminar
  • Patients and families who live in rural areas or who cannot physically access the program can participate via our website, email and telephone
  • The program is sustainable due to its practicality, and is suitable for families and patients during any stage of the cancer journey

CCC continues to promote the Cancer Coach Support Program directly to patients. In addition, our patient information materials are distributed in most Cancer Centers across the country. Many Cancer Centers promote the program to their patient population directly through their patient education libraries, or through their oncologists or by providing patients and caregivers with a CCC Support Program Pamphlet. These materials are so popular and in such heavy demand that CCC is challenged to keep up with the requests.

“Advances in treatment of colorectal cancers bring so much hope to our patients but also introduce a dizzying new array of decisions, stresses and anxieties. The amazing help the colorectal Cancer Coaches provide in support and navigation are so crucial to our patient care journeys that I think of our coaches as part of the treatment plan along with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy!"

Dr. Calvin Law,
Hepatobiliary Surgical Oncologist
Chief, Odette Cancer Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
CCC Medical Advisory Board Member

Be well informed and supported and learn about colorectal cancer care and treatment through our caring and thoughtful Cancer Coaches. Remember, asking questions and seeking answers is a sure sign of coping well! Together, we can make a difference.