SEARHC hosts retreat for men's cancer survivors

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is recruiting cancer survivors for its second annual Southeast Men’s Prostate and Testicular Cancer Survivor Retreat on June 1-3 in Wrangell.

The retreat has 15 slots open to Alaska Native survivors of prostate or testicular cancer who live in Southeast Alaska. If there are unfilled openings after the application deadline of March 30, they will become available for non-Native men. The retreat allows the men a chance to share experiences about their cancer and talk with health care experts.

Evening discussions will be led by Alaska Native Medical Center lead oncologist Dr. Greg Marino, recently retired ANMC urologist Dr. Michael Singsaas and SEARHC Community Health Care Services Medical Director Dr. Russ Bowman. SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown will facilitate and SEARHC Community Health Care Services Health Systems Specialist Richelle Whitson will provide logistical support.

In addition to sharing their cancer experiences, the men will receive round-trip transportation to Hardings Old Sourdough Lodge in Wrangell, meals and snacks, lodging, and a guided fishing trip or a jet boat excursion on the Stikine River. All expenses and equipment will be covered, and no sport fishing experience is necessary.

“We had a lot of positive response after last year’s first retreat on Prince of Wales Island. Many of the men and their spouses contacted us and asked if we were going to have another retreat,” Whitson said. “Men came with lots of questions about their cancers that we were able to answer for them. We found that many of the men are keeping in touch, and they’ve become friends and support networks for each other.”

The retreat is funded through grants from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Alaska Prostate Cancer Coalition, with other funders possible. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium provided the services of Marino and Singsaas for the retreat.

To learn more about the retreat and receive an application, contact Richelle Whitson at 907-966-8948 or Dr. Russ Bowman at 966-8779 (both are located in Sitka).

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