Kaiser Permanente continues to be the national leader in early breast and colorectal cancer detection, as well as a leading cancer treatment provider. As a tribute to this important cause and to honor cancer survivors, Kaiser Permanente hosted its 2nd annual Cancer Survivor Day event on June 6. More than 1,200 members and friends attended the annual event.
Providing opening remarks to kick off the day’s activities, Dr. Bernadette Loftus, The Permanente Medical Group associate executive director of the Mid-Atlantic States, mentioned that feedback from last year’s event played a huge role in the development of the second annual Cancer Survivor Day. She shared that she felt honored to be able to make a difference in patients’ lives by practicing medicine and leading the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group (MAPMG).
A Patient Survivor Panel with MAPMG oncologists and their patients exemplified the kind of personal care Kaiser Permanente provides in a large organization and the commitment to preventing cancer deaths.
One Kaiser Permanente cancer survivor spoke about how early detection of cervical center saved her life. Another Kaiser Permanente member, a stage-4 lung cancer survivor, mentioned that his case contributed to Kaiser Permanente implementing regular lung cancer screenings for high-risk groups.
While messages of courage and hope emanated from the panel, it was clear that the topic also brought back painful memories for the patients. The lung cancer survivor asked, “How do you make light of something that can kill you?” Although a difficult question to answer, Kaiser Permanente’s commitment is to be there for those who need us when they need us. That means offering the best care possible, providing mental and emotional support for the tough times, introducing healthy therapeutic lifestyle tools, and empowering people to feel good about celebrating victories.
The rest of the day consisted of 35 workshops and other activities that included therapeutic exercises such as gentle stretching, yoga, and guided meditation. An interactive colon exhibit displaying a giant blow-up colon with information about polyps and colorectal cancer stole the show as it informed guests while providing a memorable photo backdrop.
A Look at the Cancer Survivor Day Workshops
The workshops covered a variety of topics ranging from preventive care techniques to how to live with advanced cancer. In the session entitled “Survivorship From a Physician’s Perspective” Dr. Bruce Wollman, a radiologist and associate medical director for Regional Clinical Services with MAPMG, offered his unique perspective of being both a physician and thyroid cancer survivor. As a second-generation Permanente physician, he could attest to Kaiser Permanente’s history of high-quality care. And as a thyroid cancer patient, he experienced first-hand that Permanente physicians do more than just prescribe medication. Instead, they practice integrated wellness care.
Dr. Paul Millea, Alternative Medicine physician at the Falls Church Medical Center, spoke about supplementing traditional medicine with a dietary approach to preventing and treating cancer, noting that spices such as ginger, black pepper and cinnamon have cancer-inhibiting properties, and cumin contains more than 50 cancer-fighting compounds. Kaiser Permanente’s approach to total health is apparent when nutrition counseling becomes a part of a patient’s medical treatment plan.
Another highlight of the day was “Beauty in Me: Beauty Tips for Cancer Survivors” A new session that debuted this year focused on aesthetics to boost patients’ self-confidence and let their inner beauty shine through. Nordstrom held product demonstrations and provided free samples while professional makeup artists gave demonstrations and provided tips on how to apply makeup and scarves. This kind of attention to patients’ appearance and the understanding of its importance to their sense of self-confidence underscores Kaiser Permanente’s commitment not only to members’ medical health, but to their total wellness in mind, body, and spirit.
The commitment to members’ total health and wellness was so clearly evidenced by the success of the second annual Cancer Survivor Day event, and is among the many reasons why Kaiser Permanente is rated #1 in health plans in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
If you know of someone with an inspiring story about beating cancer with Kaiser Permanente, whether it be a patient, a family member, or a friend, encourage them to contact MA-Communication@kp.org.