Alabama program helps breast cancer patients feel at ease

MGN Online

A heart-shaped pillow and a chat may seem like small gestures but for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at DCH Health Systems, it could be just the kind of support they need as they begin treatment.

Posted: Oct 18, 2020 9:30 PM

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A heart-shaped pillow and a chat may seem like small gestures but for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at DCH Health Systems, it could be just the kind of support they need as they begin treatment.

Behind the Ribbon is an outreach program at DCH Health Systems that has been providing peer-to-peer support and educational resources since 2014.

“Our biggest concern, at that time, (was) a lot of women were having surgery done first as their treatment. And sometimes it’s the only treatment they may need. We really wanted women to know that they are not alone and there’s support,” said registered nurse and patient navigator Katrina Lewis.

A major part of this support comes from DCH volunteers who have been through breast cancer treatment themselves. They spend time talking with newly diagnosed patients. It could be a one-time chat or many conversations, said Jana Smith, Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center outreach coordinator.

“There’s something powerful in those conversations between women when one has been there and conquered it and been victorious and be able to tell someone else who is on the front end of that battle that ‘You can do it,’ ” Smith said.

Normally, these conversations would be held in-person and the patient would choose when and where they would meet on the health system’s campus. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these in-person chats were modified to phone call sessions as a precaution. The in-person visits currently are being transitioned back as an available option.

Another part of the Behind the Ribbon program is that patients are provided a kit of supplies they may need after surgery. This kit includes a breast cancer treatment handbook, a heart-shaped pillow, a post-surgical bra that is designed for the first six weeks after surgery, and a tote bag.

“It may not sound like much but I get a lot of calls saying that’s the biggest, best thing they’ve ever gotten,” Lewis said of the pillow.

The pillow helps protect the patient’s surgery site from their seatbelt when traveling. It also can be used when the patient is lying down, to reduce pressure from the arm.

Smith said the breast cancer treatment handbook is a “phenomenal resource,” and that it addresses questions and fears the patient may have. The book also has places to take notes should they have questions to ask their doctors later.

The kits are funded through the DCH Foundation’s Breast Cancer Fund. This fund also helps provide free breast screenings.

The Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center will be hosting two free breast screenings this month.

The first will be held on Oct. 19 and is for the general population. The deadline to register for this date is Oct. 14.

The second screening will be on Oct. 26 and designed for the Latina community. The deadline to register for this date is Oct. 21.

The screenings will be held from 5-7 p.m. for both dates at the cancer center.

Registration is required. No walk-ins will be accepted. To register, call 205-343-8493.

Other criteria to participate in the screenings include:

— Women must be 40 years of age or older

— Have no personal history of breast cancer

— At least 12 months since their last mammogram

— Little or no health insurance

— Must live in the 11 county DCH service area

Because of COVID-19, only those who are preregistered, fever-free and are wearing a mask will be allowed in for the screenings.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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