Breast Cancer Support
Article contributed by Cancer Education staff member, Jane Brandhagen
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, most likely you’ll be facing several decisions. The possibilities could be choosing between a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and several types of breast reconstruction. You may have questions regarding the possible side effects from chemotherapy, radiation, or adjuvant therapy. Fortunately, there are many avenues of support from others who have “been there” and understand what you’re feeling. Although they do not provide medical advice, breast cancer survivors are available nationwide to provide informational and emotional support.
One such group is the Pink Ribbon Mentorship Program which consists of breast cancer survivors in Rochester, MN. These women and men are volunteers who are required to complete a mentorship training program and are supported by the Mayo Clinic Breast Clinic and Division of Medical Oncology. Pink Ribbon Mentors know firsthand the emotional and physical challenges of dealing with breast cancer, and provide a shoulder to lean on. Pink Ribbon Mentors often visit newly diagnosed patients in the clinical setting, as well as during chemotherapy, and in the hospital after surgery. If a patient requests an individual mentor, every effort is made to match the patient with a mentor who is similar in age and treatment plan. The means of communication is dictated by the patient: face to face ***(this likely has changed due to Covid), or via phone or email. To connect with the Pink Ribbon Mentorship, call 507-293-1635, or email@example.com.
Nationwide, there are many other avenues of support. The American Cancer Society offers Reach to Recovery and can be contacted at 1-800-227-2345 or cancer.org/reach. Online communities and support are also offered by the American Cancer Society via the Cancer Survivors Network.
Although mentorship support may not be for everyone, its importance has been well documented in clinical research studies. Medical questions and advice must always be directed to your health care team, whereas mentors provide emotional support and can relate to a patient from personal experience. No matter where you are in your breast cancer journey, you may benefit from meeting with an understanding survivor who has completed both breast cancer treatment and a mentorship training program.