One in eight American women and one in 1,000 American men are battling breast cancer today. It’s estimated that more than 2 million people are diagnosed with breast cancer and fight for their lives each year.
Breast cancer is difficult to face alone—for both patients and their loved ones. To help in the battle, there are a number of local resources and support groups.
- Geneva's LivingWell Cancer Resource Center’s support groups provide participants with an opportunity to share information and obtain emotional support in a safe, nurturing environment. LivingWell is located at 442 Williamsburg Ave. in Geneva. For information about times and dates of group meetings, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.livingwellcrc.org.
- Bosom Buddies Y-Me Breast Cancer Support Group in St. Charles provides a safe environment for women with breast cancer and their family and friends. Meetings are held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Central DuPage Hospital Convenience Care Center 2900 E. Foxfield Drive at Kirk Road in St. Charles. For more information, e-mail Yme@breier.org or click here.
- The Breast Cancer Support Group at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora invites people living with breast cancer, as well as family members and supporters, to join the monthly peer support group and discover inspiration, hope and encouragement. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, call Peggy at 630-499-1302 or Mira at 630-898-3633, or click here.
“Support groups are really beneficial,” says Debra Somerrs Copit, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Albert Einstein Medical Center, and a member of the medical advisory board for Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
“When patients are told they’re sick, it can be an out of body experience and they aren’t taking in everything the doctor is saying. It can be helpful to have someone to turn to and learn from who has gone through the same thing,” says Copit, who is a breast cancer survivor herself.
Not only do groups offer emotional support, but being a part of a support group can actually help patients feel less depressed and can help to reduce physical pain, according to a 2001 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Patients who aren’t big fans of group settings but still want to reap the benefits can turn to technology. It’s hard to duplicate in-person support groups on the web, but the recently launched breast cancer specific social networking platform, MyBreastCancerTeam comes close.
The site and mobile app caters to breast cancer survivors, and women who have been recently diagnosed. Users can find suggestions for doctors and find similar users based on location, diagnosis and age. Members also have access to peer-driven Q&A section where they can read and write posts.
While a web platform may be useful for some, Copit worries that online forums can sometimes trigger the spread of misinformation. She suggests that patients who can’t make it to an in-person support group try calling a phone line.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer has a confidential survivors’ helpline that connects patients with others of similar background, going through similar situation. Call (888) 753-LBBC (5222) for more information.
TELL US: Do you know of any breast cancer support groups in the community? How have they helped you?