“Even friends we thought we knew turned out to be survivors, and they were full of encouragement,” the husband said. “All around us, people popped up with personal experience.” A breast cancer survivor and her husband said they were surprised. They had no idea they were in such good company.

Survivors say those who walked this path before them joined them with strength and hope when they needed it. When it was time for navigating the diagnoses, choosing the treatments, and absorbing the impact of the news, the companionship of women who went this way before them was a welcome source of comfort and encouragement.

The Key is Early Detection

When October was first designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, it was aimed at promoting mammography. Awareness and the means of early detection grew geometrically since then, and every aspect of breast cancer is touched now by the involvement each October generates under this pink banner.

Raising a Pink Profile Nationwide

Perhaps no other health awareness initiative has gained such awareness as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink ribbons everywhere are an expected rite of fall. Friends and neighbors walk, run, and raise money for research. Even football players don pink socks, towels, and gloves from the NFL to the local high school, and Harley Davidson riders join forces to spread the word. Not since the March of Dimes helped to end epidemic polio in the 1950s has awareness been mobilized so widely and so deep within our culture.

A Map for Patients and Families

The National Breast Cancer Foundation publishes an early detection plan that guides women through symptoms and signs, breast self-exams, clinical exams, mammograms, and healthy habits. Its patient and family guide, titled Beyond the Shock, provides a caring map for patients, their families, and loved ones.

Of particular interest is the Patient Navigator Program. Sparked by the realization that specialties and options face the newly diagnosed breast cancer patient in profusion – and confusion – patient navigators are professionals whose job is to be the patient’s ally in sorting through them all. Experience and know-how come in handy when we are faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, and yet rarely does a new patient arrive with that experience in-hand.

Finding a Firm Foundation

It can be vital to have a focused ally on your side. A family physician performed that function in times past, building a thorough knowledge of the health of the whole family, so that in times of challenge each patient started with a firm base.

At Global Family Medicine, we would be glad to become that ally. Call us at 843-815-6468 to get started.