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Support programs and organizations

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Support programs and organizations

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Health professionals and patients alike have learned the value of mutual support among patients. When someone who has a serious illness feels frightened or depressed, it often helps to talk about those feelings with another person who has been through the same experience. This can help patients get practical information, understand their feelings, and develop their own ways of handling their problems. Families and other people who are close to someone with a serious illness also can use this type of help.

The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of services to patients and their families. Their Reach to Recovery program provides special help for breast cancer patients. Trained volunteers, who have had breast cancer themselves, visit patients at the doctor's request. These volunteers provide emotional support to women before and after treatment. They also share their experiences with breast cancer treatment, breast reconstruction, and rehabilitation. Reach to Recovery also provides family members with information to help them better understand some of the problems the patients may have. The ACS also conducts a wide variety of support groups. To find an ACS chapter near you, check your local telephone book or contact the national office at this address and telephone number:
American Cancer Society
National Headquarters
1599 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329

ENCORE (Encouragement, Normalcy, Counseling, Opportunity, Reaching Out, Energies Revived), sponsored by the national YWCA, is a program to help breast cancer patients after surgery. The program includes exercise to music, water exercises, and a discussion period. A woman may join a group the third week after surgery, with her doctor's permission. For more information, check with your local YWCA listed in the telephone book.

National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations
You may also wish to contact the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO). The NABCO is a nonprofit organization that provides breast cancer patients with information to help them make decisions about treatment. This organization also can help you find a local support group. Contact NABCO at this address and telephone number:
National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations
1180 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036
(212) 719-0154

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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