Program helps cancer battle

A NEW program to help young people who have a parent with cancer will be introduced in western Sydney.

National charity, CanTeen's new program, Truce is a free, seven-week face-to-face skills based support group for young people aged from 14 to 22.

And it's calling for participants in the next program, which starts this month.

Its developer, Dr Pandora Patterson, recently met with sisters, Tayla, 13, and Alyssa Williams, 17, of Castle Hill whose father Aaron, 40, died of cancer last year. Dr Patterson said Truce is a different program based on the existing CanTeen program but developed to make it more effective to improve the mental health of young people.

She said Truce uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help young people cope.

"Young people who complete Truce will be better equipped to manage their psychological wellbeing in relation to their parent's cancer and other difficult life circumstances," she said.

"It helps them to cope with the shock, disbelief, anger and fear as they encounter hospitals, treatment and uncertainty of life.

"These mixed emotions can throw young people off balance and have a devastating impact on their transition from childhood to adulthood."

Alyssa said prior to meeting other young people in the same predicament in group sessions she and her sister couldn't discuss the issue with their mum.

Register: Esther Davis, 1800 234 007, truce@canteen.org.au or truce.org.au.

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