One in eight American women and one in 1,000 American men will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s estimated that more than two 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.
Here are nearby support groups:
MidState Medical Center support group meets on the third Monday of the month. Next group meets on Oct. 15 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. Gather at the oncology waiting area at the hospital, 435 Lewis Ave., Meriden. Phone: 203-694-8669. Free, no preregistration required.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut holds a support group on the third Wed. of every month from 5:30 - 7 p.m. at the hospital, 100 Grand St. New Britain. Contact Donna Boehm, Nurse Navigator, (860) 224-5900 x6307. Free.
Griffin Hospital holds a support group on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Preregister by calling (203) 888-3993. The hospital is located at 130 Division St., Derby.
Smilow Cancer Center at Yale-New Haven offers a support group on the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at 20 York St., New Haven. Call to preregister, (203) 200-6360. Free.
“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, Dr.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 other breast cancer support groups for Wallingford residents? How have they helped you?