October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The September 30, 2013, presidential proclamation acknowledging this points out that “This disease touches every corner of the United States—in 2013 alone, more than 230,000 women and over 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and tens of thousands will die from it.” The proclamation states that during this month “we salute the women and men who dedicate themselves to prevention, detection, and treatment; we show our support for every individual and every family struggling with breast cancer; and we pause to remember those we have lost.”
We at The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON) recognize all that you do to educate and treat those who have breast cancer or who are at risk of developing breast cancer. In this month’s issue, we bring you some of the latest research news as well as present the voices of those who have confronted breast cancer.
Carolyn Comeau, a woman diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in 2007, tells us about her support group, the “Young and the Breastless,” and shares how this remarkable group of women helped her through some very tough times. Carolyn also points out that “there’s no ‘right’ way to ‘do’ cancer” and that “Support groups come in all shapes and sizes, and, as with that elusive pair of comfortable and chic jeans, I advise trying on a few before you commit to the purchase.” Carolyn’s insights and her unique voice can help us help our patients with cancer think about how a support group might be beneficial.
Angela Long, founder of Breast Investigators, discusses the different ways people define and use the word survivor. She notes that some people are uncomfortable with the word while others may view it as a badge of honor. It’s a perspective that’s valuable for all oncology professionals to keep in mind. As Angela states, “although cancer takes so much from us, it cannot take our right to define ourselves.” We’ll be hearing more from Angela in future issues of TON.
Project LEAD is an amazing 5-day intensive program for breast cancer advocates that covers the basics of cancer biology, genetics, epidemiology, research design, and advocacy. Peg Ford, very active in education and advocacy in the area of ovarian cancer, wanted to become “the best informed cancer research advocate” she could be and decided to apply to Project LEAD. It will come as no surprise to readers of Peg’s Through the Eyes of an Advocate column that she was accepted. Peg tells us about her experience at the Project LEAD course and encourages other advocates to apply and participate.
As always, we hope the information in this issue benefits your practice and your patients. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or suggestions. We love to hear from readers!