Resources for Breast Cancer Patients, Survivors, and their Loved Ones

BCA“Cancer affects all of us, whether you’re a daughter, mother, sister, friend, coworker, doctor, or patient.”

Jennifer Aniston

Breast cancer, excluding skin cancer, is the most common cancer among women. In 2012, 224,147 women and 2,125 men were diagnosed with breast cancer. The numbers total to 226,272 lives that were changed, not counting the lives of their parents, siblings, children, spouses, and friends. No matter the way breast cancer affects one’s life, there are countless resources available to aid in research and healing.

Beyond the Shock, created by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., is a collaborative effort by doctors, medical experts, and researchers around the world. Not only is Beyond the Shock a helpful resource for women diagnosed with breast cancer, but it is also beneficial for loved ones hoping to gain a greater understanding of the disease. Beyond the Shock, available online and in app form, is divided into three sections.

The “Learn” section provides a series of videos that explain the details of breast cancer from breast anatomy to treatments. The “Ask” section allows users to submit questions to be answered by other users, often survivors who can offer suggestions or advice. The “Hear” section provides access to videos recorded by users: survivors, current patients, or loved ones. Each user has the opportunity to record his or her own video and share his or her personal story. There is also a section with helpful resources, specifically for family members and loved ones. The organized sections make Beyond the Shock easily accessible and beneficial to anyone affected by breast cancer.

Cancer Care is another national organization that provides resources, information, and support for those diagnosed with cancer and their family and friends. Cancer Care provides information about counseling, financial assistance, support groups, education workshops, publications, and stories of help and hope. The support groups are accessed online or over the telephone (and face-to-face in New Jersey). Each of the three support groups, organized by diagnosis, are led by an oncology social worker. The workshops are also accessible over the phone or online as a webcast. Podcasts are also available. Like Beyond the Shock, Cancer Care helps patients and loved ones.

In addition to online tools, books and memoirs also offer comfort. Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held on to Hope, and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour is Amy Robach’s memoir detailing her life after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She openly expresses the struggles and victories of her battle with breast cancer. Her inspirational story of endurance may be a beneficial read just as Had I Know: A Memoir of Survival by Joan Lunden. Lunden also chronicles her life with breast cancer and expresses the personal changes brought on by her battle. Like Robach’s work, Had I Known offers hope and empowerment.

In one year alone, 226,272 lives were changed. The breast cancer that so drastically affected those, also alter the lives of countless others who love the diagnosed. Those 226,272 individuals possess immense strength and courage, and reflections of this strength are found on each of the above resources, which serve to inspire survivors, current patients, and their loved ones.



Beyond the Shock:

Cancer Care: