October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which was founded in 1985 as a week-long event as an effort to educate the public about mammography as the most effective means of detection.
From that beginning, the event grew quickly – the pink ribbon was adopted in 1992, and the observance expanded to the entire month of October. Today, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an international health campaign designed to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of this common cancer, and to raise funds for research into causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Modern medicine continues to make great strides in treating breast cancer, but it’s also important to consider the emotional effects of having the disease. That’s where WFCM comes in.
About our Breast Cancer Support Group
Westmont Family Counseling Ministries hosts a confidential breast cancer support group the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30-8:00 pm in our Johnstown offices. The group is free of charge, and any woman who is affected by breast cancer is welcome to attend – whether they are newly diagnosed, in treatment, or in remission.
The group is facilitated by Bernice Adams, LCSW, who started the group more than seven years ago to help women with the emotional aspects of coping with breast cancer. “The group is a safe, caring place for women to share with people who know what they’re going through – things that might be hard to share with family and friends,” Adams explains.
Group participants can talk freely about any aspect of coping with the disease, and Adams finds they often like to compare notes about treatment and medication, sharing advice, information and tips. She emphasizes that the group is open to any woman coping with breast cancer, and that it’s a caring, supportive group that welcomes new members.
Why support groups help
Joining a support group can be a positive way of dealing with many kinds of mental health challenges, including the stress of dealing with a serious disease like breast cancer. Some of the most commonly-cited benefits include realizing that you’re not alone in your struggle, having the opportunity to express your feelings among people who really understand what you’re going through, and learning practical information about treatment options and coping with side effects.
Further, the camaraderie and fellowship of a confidential support group of people who are facing the same life challenge can make a real difference in your mental health and quality of life. Participants often report gaining a sense of hope, and feeling a renewed sense of purpose as they provide support to others.
How to take part
The Breast Cancer Support Group at WFCM is free, confidential, and open to any woman who is coping with breast cancer. You do not have to have any affiliation with Westmont Family Counseling Ministries to take part.
If you’d like more information, you can contact us, or just come to the group on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30.