You have had your world turned upside down by four devastating words “You have breast cancer.” The doctor and staff have given you information and advice about the next step.
“In 1980, the 5-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (cancer confined to the breast) was about 74 percent. Today, that number is 99 percent,” said Joni Avery, Communications Specialist, Susan G. Komen Foundation.
There are almost three million breast cancer survivors in the US.
Each year, more than 200,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and over 2,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men in the U.S.
Once diagnosed, you may feel so alone. It does not have to be that way. There are several groups online you can turn to for informational, emotional and practical support. There is support not only for the patient but friend, family and co-workers.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation provides free professional support services. Per Avery, “Our vision is a world without breast cancer.” The Komen website includes online forums breast cancer survivors sharing their experiences and advice for the challenges ahead. Support is available for co-survivors (friends, spouses, children and caregivers). Helpline (1-877-465-6636) is available Monday through Friday 9 am – 10 pm ET to help navigate through the information as well as help you find resources.
The American Cancer Society also has a more comprehensive website www.cancer.org for additional information. “We also offer our toll-free number, 1-800-227-2345 , 24×7, to answer cancer patients’, caregivers’ and families’ questions about breast and other cancers and help them find support services they need in their communities,” noted Elissa McCrary, Sr. Director, Media Relations, ACS.
www.CancerSupportCommunity.org offers online support as well as 50 local affiliates, and 100 satellite locations. Their mission is “To ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.” In July 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club Worldwide combined to become Cancer Support Community. CSC optimizes patient care by providing essential, but often overlooked, services including support groups, counseling, education and healthy lifestyle programs. 1-888-793-9355
Oncology social workers are available to help you cope with the emotional and practical challenges of breast cancer. Contact us at 800‑813‑4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancer Care has partnered with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation to assist and support women with triple-negative breast cancer. Call 877-880-8622.
BCSupport.org is an online support community providing links for chemo/treatment, surgery/reconstruction/recurrence/Her2, grief support board, if needed information about Social Security Disability as well as advice from a radiation oncologist.
If you want to become involved by volunteering or making donations, contact any of the groups listed by phone or by going online.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Each organization has events, check out each website for event details.