60 seconds with... Emiko Tsuji, Osaka City University Hospital Cancer Patient Support Club
Each month we will be interviewing an IAPO member in six short questions. They will be featured in our newsletter and the website.
Our featured member of the month is Emiko Tsuji, from the Osaka City University Hospital Cancer Patient Support Club (GINNAN), based in Japan. Emiko answered a few questions for us.
1. Describe your role at GINNAN in a sentence:
We have many roles but our main one is mental and emotional support for cancer patients as peers. We talk about our lives and often have picnics and drink tea together as a release from stress. We also carry out research into cancer.
2. I do what I do because…
I was a patient with stage four breast cancer. Firstly, I was told I had six months to a year to live. I thought I would die but six months later I thought, I am still alive! So I organized GINNAN for cancer patients like me to walk through our life with cancer together.
3. Why does GINNAN exist?
When patients are told about cancer by their doctor, every patient feels sadness. During that time we stand by them. Just standing by them is important because patients feel, 'I am not alone.'
4. What is your biggest achievement as an organization?
We held the Asian Breast Cancer Conference in 2008. Five different groups from Asian countries joined us. After the Conference we had a one day trip to Kyoto. We enjoyed hot spring baths and could talk about our different lives.
5. What does patient-centred healthcare look like to you?
Policy is very important but often it does not reach to the bottom of system - the patients. So, we as survivors and patients, take care of each other and gather our voices worldwide.
6. What do you think is the key benefit of being involved with IAPO and a global alliance for patients?
IAPO is a very important organization for us. We can hear lots of voices and opinions from you. We hear and think much about it, and then do action.