An overwhelming number of breast cancer patients and survivors say that talking to other survivors is key to dealing with the disease. The findings, the result of a new national poll of breast cancer patients and survivors, inspired Edie Falco, the award-winning actress of the hit series Nurse Jackie and 9-year cancer survivor to join forces with Y-ME, a national breast cancer organization focused on the needs of survivors and patients.
“I didn’t know that it mattered so much to speak with someone who had been through it. I was like a deer in the headlights,” said Ms. Falco. “I kept my diagnosis private but could have used an anonymous friend who’d been there to talk about the stuff you are left to deal with because the doctors don’t talk about it. ‘Am I going to lose my hair? When will it happen? Were you scared? Does your family know?’ I’m helping Y-ME because its mission is near to my heart.”
The poll, conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies for Y-ME, found that 84% of breast cancer patients and survivors say talking to another survivor is one of the most important ways of dealing with the disease, and 68% wish that they could have been connected to other survivors. A whopping 95% said it was important to have a 24-hour hotline for fellow survivors yet only 14 % were aware that such an organization exists today.
The CEO of Y-ME and cancer survivor, Cindy Geoghegan, says she hopes these findings will shift the focus of the breast cancer movement to patient-focused support and advocacy. Y-ME runs a 24/7 helpline that is answered by trained peer breast cancer survivors. They can be reached at 800-221-2141 or visit their website. (www.y-me.org)