You’re Not Alone: Breast Cancer Support and Resources
| Posted On Oct 12, 2012 | By: Atrius Health
The month of October and the color pink are closely associated with breast cancer awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the US during 2019. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. At this time there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.
Mammograms are one of the most important tools clinicians have to help them evaluate the breast. They are also a critical tool to follow women who’ve had breast cancer. Although mammograms do not prevent breast cancer, they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible.
The American Cancer Society recommends:
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (low-dose x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
- Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening. Screening should continue as long as woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
If you have certain risk factors, you should discuss an appropriate screening program with your doctor.
A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming, but women need to know they are not alone. Whether you or someone you know needs emotional or financial support, a ride to treatment or assistance with cooking or cleaning, help is out there. We have put together a helpful list of resources:
The American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org):
- Free 24/7 telephone support with cancer information specialists – call 1-800-ACS-2345
- Reach to Recovery program matches newly diagnosed women with a trained volunteer who is a breast cancer survivor and can talk about coping with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
- If you need assistance with rides to treatment, volunteers assist through the Road to Recovery service.
- Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay when their best option for effective treatment may be in another city.
The Ellie Fund (https://elliefund.org):
- Provides transportation assistance to medical appointments, childcare reimbursement, light housekeeping, and nutritious prepared/delivered meals to women across Massachusetts. Program participants must be referred by an oncology professional.
National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov):
- Information for the patient about managing the physical and emotional effects of cancer, information for caregivers, family & friends and more
- Information specialists at the NCI Contact Center are available to help answer your cancer-related questions in English and Spanish whether you are a patient, family member or friend, health care provider, or researcher.
- Toll free Breast Cancer Helpline
- Match Mentor – Breast Cancer patients, their families and friends are custom matched with professionally trained and supported breast cancer survivors and co-survivors.
Cleaning for a Reason (www.cleaningforareason.org):
- This organization partners with maid services to offer free professional house cleaning to improve the lives of women undergoing cancer treatment
- Counseling by telephone with oncology social workers
- Online or telephone support groups for patients and caregivers
- Telephone or online workshops
- For those who qualify, financial assistance with homecare, childcare, transportation, medication, medical equipment and more
The Hematology/Oncology Department and the Surgery Department of Atrius Health work collaboratively in the care of breast cancer patients. Our mission is to provide our patients with state-of-the-art treatments delivered in a comfortable and compassionate manner.