Volunteers needed to reach out to breast cancer patients
No one should have to face breast cancer alone
As you look forward to celebrating Mother’s Day next month, take a moment to talk to her about her health. Ask her if she’s had her mammogram this year; if not, encourage her to make an appointment with her physician and offer to go along with her. This year, 8,140 women in Michigan are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,360 will die from the disease. That’s about 1 out of 8 women. But no one has to face breast cancer alone.
“Oftentimes when someone is told they have breast cancer, they feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and alone,” said Julie Renner, Health Initiatives coordinator for the American Cancer Society Mid-Michigan Office in East Lansing. “Not only is their concern about a diagnosis of breast cancer, but that person must also begin to understand and sort out the huge amount of information the doctors will provide.”
Today, one in every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help and support. Cancer Information Specialists are available by calling (800) 227-2345 anytime day or night for anyone to provide information, answers, and emotional support through programs such as Reach to Recovery.
The Reach to Recovery program has been helping breast cancer patients cope with their cancer journey for more than 35 years. This experience begins when someone is faced with the possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis and continues throughout the entire period that breast cancer remains a personal concern.
“Talking with a specially trained Reach to Recovery volunteer at this time can give a measure of comfort and an opportunity for emotional grounding and informed decision-making,” said Renner. “Volunteers are breast cancer survivors themselves so they are able to give patients and family members an opportunity to express feelings, talk about fears and concerns and ask questions of someone who is impartial and objective. Most importantly, Reach to Recovery volunteers offer understanding, support and hope because they themselves have survived breast cancer and have gone on to live normal, productive lives.”
Through face-to-face visits or by phone, Reach to Recovery volunteers give support for:
· People recently diagnosed with breast cancer or facing a possible diagnosis of breast cancer
· Those interested in or who have undergone a lumpectomy or mastectomy
· Those considering breast reconstruction
· Those who have lymphedema
· Those who are undergoing or who have completed treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy
· People facing breast cancer recurrence or metastasis (the spread of cancer to another part of the body)
Reach to Recovery volunteers are trained to provide support and up-to-date information, including literature for spouses, children, friends and other loved ones. When appropriate, volunteers can provide breast cancer patients with a temporary breast form and information on types of permanent prostheses, as well as lists of where those items are available within a patient’s community.
There is never a charge for the services of Reach to Recovery volunteers and no products are endorsed. If you are a breast cancer survivor who is interested in becoming a Reach to Recovery volunteer, please contact Julie Renner at (517) 664-1371.
If you know someone who can benefit from the services of a Reach to Recovery volunteer or have any cancer-related question, please call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.
About the American Cancer Society:
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we’re determined to finish the fight against cancer. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.