Welcome to the OPA Support Group for Norfolk & Waveney

Welcome to the OPA support group for Norfolk and Waveney district and the surrounding area.

Anyone diagnosed with, recovering from or having recovered from oesophageal/gullet or stomach cancer are welcome along with those who are suffering with Barrett's oesophagus or GORD.

We are here to offer help and support either by telephone, local meetings or literature.

Meeting Schedule 

Date Time Venue
TBC 10:30 Benjamin Gooch Room, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, NR4 7UY

Contact Details:

Sue Hales

Tel: 07732 672816

Emailshales48@gmail.com

Car Parking

Car parking is FREE - Bring your car parking ticket to the meeting and it will be replaced with a pre-validated one.

About us

Who we are
The Norfolk & Norwich OPA support group (Charity Number 1062461) 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'. We are also very lucky in that representatives from a dedicated team of Upper GI Nurses and Surgeons regularly attend our meetings and we are truly grateful to them for their continued support and advice.

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 meetings are very informal and take place at the Benjamin Gooch Room, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Each meeting typically lasts for 2 hours and gives attendees an opportunity to hear the latest news, share their experiences, and learn from others. 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 ). Some attendees choose to stay on for lunch or a drink from the bar.

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. 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 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).

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