Being there for breast cancer

by Hannah Leatherbury, Education Contributor

The first time I remember hearing the word “cancer,” I was in elementary school. My dad was talking to his sister on the phone and his voice changed when he said the word. As a pediatric nurse, he had gotten very good about explaining technical medical concepts to me in a way that made them easy to understand. But there was something about cancer that I understood before he even had a chance to sit me down and explain that my aunt had found a lump and was going to be seeing her doctor for further tests – I understood that cancer was scary. It could take your breath away.

Hearing the words “breast cancer” today, my fear is surrounded by a host of other feelings, not the least of which is hope. My aunt survived her scare, but more than anything, my hope emerged after being surrounded by thousands of women walking in support of a cure for breast cancer. The walk was an illustration to me that many people survive a breast cancer diagnosis and many more will continue to survive because they are more aware of early detection and treatment options.

The Cancer Support Community offers people affected by breast cancer and their caretakers great advice on current breast cancer treatments, side effects and psychosocial support. These resources include:

Open to Options™ – a program designed to inspire patient confidence in making treatment decisions. Open to Options provides professional counselors who work with patients and their caregivers to formulate a list of personalized questions and concerns to be taken into the oncologist’s office. Call today to speak with one of our counselors 1-888-793-9355.

The Breast Cancer M.A.P. (Mind Affects the Physical) Project – the first online registry that looks at the emotional and social needs of those diagnosed with breast cancer and tracks how needs change throughout the cancer journey. By joining the M.A.P. Project you can help describe the breast cancer experience. You will also gain access to resources and opportunities to connect with others like you through an Online Community.

Frankly Speaking About Cancer Education Series–resources focused on breast cancer.

  • Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Advanced Breast Cancer is a booklet and CD-ROM that is specifically developed for women diagnosed with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer. The materials cover topics ranging from treatment and side effect information to quality of life issues.
  • Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Breast Reconstruction booklet can help women make more knowledgeable, confident and clear decisions about breast reconstruction after cancer, without feeling rushed
  • Frankly Speaking About Cancer: When a Woman You Care About has Breast Cancer booklet provides resources, tips and support for those caring for a loved one with breast cancer.

 Please click here to order these resources or for more information.

Tips for Caregivers - Learn what you can do to support yourself while caring for your loved one – read top 10 tips.

About Ivy Ahmed

Ivy Ahmed is the Vice President of Education and Outreach at the Cancer Support Community. In this position she oversees the development, promotion and implementation of national CSC education programs. She also oversees the development of online educational materials and national professional outreach related to education programs. Ivy has over 15 years in public health and has worked in both the private and public sectors promoting cancer education. She served as a health educator and case manager with the District of Columbia’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and as the health communications manager with Lockheed Martin on a contract to support to the NCI’s Cancer Information Service. Ivy holds two degrees from the George Washington University, a Bachelor in Literature and a Master of Public Health.

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