In addition to talking with your doctor, your nurse, and the
people closest to you, you may also want to talk with other women
who have had similar experiences.
As described earlier, Reach to Recovery is an American Cancer
Society program designed to help patients meet the physical,
emotional, and cosmetic needs related to breast cancer and its
treatment. Women who have had mastectomies volunteer to participate
in the program by sharing their experiences with others. All
volunteers are carefully selected and trained.
If your doctor authorizes a visit from a Reach to Recovery
volunteer, she will contact you about an appointment while you are
in the hospital or shortly after you go home. When you get
together, she'll bring a kit containing a temporary breast form and
information for husbands, children, other loved ones, and friends.
She'll be prepared to discuss all aspects of mastectomy, including
your personal concerns. Programs vary from city to city, so contact
your local American Cancer Society chapter for more
ENCORE is a national YWCA discussion and exercise program for
women who have had breast cancer. This once-a-week, 90-minute
program consists of floor and swimming pool exercise sessions and
group discussions. Contact your local YWCA for more information
If informal approaches to dealing with your feelings don't work,
consider professional help. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social
workers, nurses, and religious counselors can help you adjust.