Welcome to the OPA Support Group for Exeter

Welcome to the OPA support group for Exeter and the surrounding area. We welcome anyone diagnosed with, recovering from, or having recovered from oesophageal or stomach cancer. We also welcome those facing gastric difficulties or individuals experiencing difficulty swallowing or eating food. Whatever your circumstances, we are here to offer support, and we hope you will consider joining us at our next group meeting. We meet monthly and details of our next meetings are updated here regularly.

Meeting Schedule

Contact us on 07710 286 204 or email brian.marionk2@tiscali.co.uk.

Due to the Coronavirus, all support meetings have been cancelled until further notice. However, if you need support or to speak to another oesophageal patient, please call Brian on 07710 286 204 or the OPA Helpline - 0121 704 860 or email enquiries@opa.org.uk

Date Time Venue Notes

Meeting Venue

Our monthly meetings are held at The Force Centre, Corner House, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW. Please check this page regularly for our meeting dates.


 Please check this page regularly for updates regarding our regional meetings. These meetings are held at The Kenn Centre, Exeter Road, Kennford, Exeter EX6 7UE.


About us

Who we are
The Exeter OPA support group is made up of a mixture of current and former patients, their carers and close family members and friends. Patients may be at any stage of treatment, from an individual who has only been diagnosed recently through to someone who underwent surgery several years (or indeed decades) ago. Our group members (both male and female) come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, and all have very different stories to tell. We all have one thing in common however, and that is we all aim to help and support each other, very much employing the ethos of the OPA - 'former patients helping current patients'.

Our aim
We aim to help patients (and their families) pre and post treatment by offering support and guidance from those who have been in a similar situation themselves. We also aim to inform GPs concerning the symptoms of the disease and the nature of postoperative care required. In addition to the national objectives of the OPA, we also hope to conduct a number of regional awareness initiatives, plans for which will be discussed at future meetings.

Meeting Structure
Our monthly meetings are very informal and take place at The Force Centre, Exeter. Each meeting gives attendees an opportunity to hear the latest news, share their experiences, and learn from others. We have a question and answer session at each meeting, giving members the chance to speak about any concerns they may have. We usually have a Specialist Nurse present at each meeting to help with these questions. There is no obligation for anyone to speak publicly (your level of participation is completely up to you). Going forward, we also hope to be able to offer inspiring and engaging presentations on a wide range of topics, by a number of carefully selected guest speakers. After the main meeting has ended, you are welcome to stay and talk to other patients (either in groups, or on a one to one basis ).

How do I know when the next meeting is taking place?
Details of forthcoming meetings will be displayed on this page and will be posted or E-mailed to a mailing list of group members by our Secretary. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact us at the address at the bottom of this page. Where possible (to save on postage and administration costs) we would prefer to contact members by E-mail.

Can anyone attend?
Yes absolutely. We welcome patients from across Exeter. We also welcome visitors from further afield, including representatives from other OPA support groups. You do not have to be a patient to attend (you may be a partner, carer, friend or close family member for example). In fact we positively encourage non-patients to attend. Feedback from attendees suggests that carers (usually spouses or partners) looking after their loved ones can often learn a great deal from other carers (answers to questions such as "Is this symptom normal?" for example). We would also encourage GPs and medical professionals of all levels to attend.

How much does it cost?
Our meetings are absolutely free to attend and there are no 'membership' fees, although we do ask attendees for a small (voluntary) donation to cover the cost of tea/coffee & biscuits and venue hire (where applicable). Any additional leisure activities organised by the group may incur an additional charge, however we will notify attendees of any costs prior to organising an event, and participation is optional.

What if I don't feel well enough to attend?
As former patients, we fully understand the difficulties you may be undergoing as a patient... be they physical, psychological or both. Whilst you might not feel like talking about cancer, wherever possible, we would encourage you to attend, as we are confident you will find our meetings both supportive and informative. From gaining tips on treatments or diet, to knowing how to deal with some of the symptoms, you may be surprised at what you can learn by talking to another patient. You can also take comfort knowing that you are not going through the experience alone and that there are others who you can turn to for help, guidance and support. If you are too unwell to attend in person, please feel free to send someone else on your behalf (e.g spouse, friend, or family member).

Group Administration

Your Exeter Support Group Committee is comprised of a small team who work exceptionally hard to make sure meetings suit your needs. The Committee meets prior to each group meeting to plan the venue, timing, guest speakers, and general schedule. Future group events will also be arranged by the Committee.

Brian Kohl - Chair and Secretary Gloria Facey - Vice Chair
Marion Kohl - SW Regional Co-Ordinator
John Moss - Treasurer
Norma Barry - Committee Member
Jill Moss - Committee Member

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