Everything You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Support Groups

Breast cancer support groups can provide emotional support during trying tims

There is never a convenient time for a cancer diagnosis. Regardless of your financial position and familial support, breast cancer is disruptive and destructive, with a multitude of associated costs. The team at Breast Health Institute Houston does everything in its power to ensure all patients receive the care and support they need, but it is okay to need more. One way is through breast cancer support groups.

Whether you’re concerned about medical bills, child care, or just need emotional support, there are resources that you can use to bring more stability to your everyday life. Although there are big national names like Cancer Care, the Pink Fund, and the Breast Cancer Charities of America, you can also find many local resources to help you build a much-needed community.

The Necessity of Support

Professional group leaders and fellow cancer patients/survivors can aid you in the fight against isolation that haunts so many cancer patients. When friends and family don’t know what to say or how to help, you may need other people who have shared your experience to step in.

In finding a community that understands, you open yourself up to opportunities to re-build and reconnect with those who may have taken a step back during one of the most trying parts of your life.

There is no shame in needing help. We are a naturally social species that relies on community for every aspect of life. However, everyone approaches cancer differently, so you will need to identify what kind of support group is right for you. Here are a few factors to consider.

What is their Focus?

Education

If you are the kind of person who feels that being informed allows you to feel more control over your situation, then an educationally-centered group may be what is right for you. These kinds of support groups are usually led by professionals with medical experience, allowing for an open discussion of the science and medicine behind your treatment plan. These groups also center the lived experience by encouraging current patients and survivors to share what treatment was like for them to help prepare and support others in the group.

Emotional Support

The emotional toll associated with breast cancer is one of the most carefully studied phenomena in the field. There is no denying that breast cancer patients experience emotional trauma that puts their mental health at risk. If, for any reason, you feel that you are not receiving enough emotional support, use the national resources listed above and your oncologist to find local support groups that focus on emotional health.

What Commitments are Required?

Open Membership

These breast cancer support groups don’t require you to commit to a set number of meetings. If you’re unsure about whether group sessions are for you, then this may be a good place to start. However, it may be more challenging to form a consistent community, as people rotate in and out as they please.

Closed Membership

If you need consistency, then a closed group may work better. Once a set number of people register, the group sessions begin. You commit to attending a certain number of sessions, and the people in your group remain the same from beginning to end. If you feel you need someone to hold you accountable for attending, closed groups may work for you.

Who Leads the Group?

Professionals

In these cases, a professional psychologist or social worker will lead the group. They use scientifically proven exercises to help members reconnect and re-establish control in their lives. Given their training, it may be best for patients who are experiencing feelings of anger, resentment, and loss to seek out a support group with a professional lead.

Survivors

No one understands the reality of cancer quite like a survivor. So, it is no surprise that many patients prefer to attend breast cancer support groups led by people who have experienced cancer themselves. These groups are fully capable of providing advice on how to deal with cancer in the everyday. However, these are not medical professionals, so you should maintain a constant dialog with your medical team.

How Do They Meet?

In Person

For many cancer patients and survivors, existing in the same physical space as people who understand is an important part of the healing process. These meetings typically take place at set times over the week.

Online

In-person meetings aren’t practical for everyone, though. If you work an unusual shift or simply don’t have time for yet another commitment, online groups like What Next can provide real-time answers from fellow cancer patients and survivors.

No matter what works for you, remember that you aren’t alone. The people around you may care and want to help, but it is okay to feel that it isn’t enough. It is okay to need to talk to people who have experienced the same difficulties and traumas that you have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The Link Between Infertility Treatment and Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer and Infertility

According to breastcancer.org, fertility treatments seem to affect breast cancer risk in younger women who succeed in conceiving. These findings are from a July 12, 2012, study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Women whose fertility treatments resulted in conception were found more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not conceive.

Continue reading “The Link Between Infertility Treatment and Breast Cancer”

The Stages of Breast Cancer Explained

Breast cancer affects one in four women, and it can be daunting to understand all the different stages and treatment options that are available; especially if you have been recently diagnosed. To help you through the specifics of all the different breast cancer stages and what they mean for your personal treatment plan, the Breast Institute Houston has put together an informative piece to walk you through every stage of breast cancer. Find an attentive and highly recommended breast cancer specialist in Houston when you contact the Breast Institute Houston to schedule your first appointment today.

Continue reading “The Stages of Breast Cancer Explained”

Breast Cancer Risk Decreased by Breastfeeding?

Breast Feeding And Breast Cancer

Breast Feeding And Breast Cancer

Recent studies have suggested a link between the act of breastfeeding and the reduction of the risk for cancer. While natural breastfeeding of your newborn child is always encouraged, now there may be more than one good reason to continue this behavior.

Breastfeeding is typically very healthy for a baby, and can help bolster their developmental, social, and mental growth. By breastfeeding, not only are you strengthening your child, but you are establishing an intimate bond with them as well.

And now, you could even be decreasing your chances of developing breast cancer. At The Breast Institute Houston, we are always supportive of proactive research and new findings that appear to help with cancer risk reduction. Our breast center family has deducted some research to figure out the science behind this theory, and whether breastfeeding your child can really help you avoid developing cancer. To consult with the best breast cancer doctor in Houston, reach out to Dr. Miltenburg today.

Breastfeeding Reduces Exposure to Estrogen

One of the main contributors to breast cancer is the hormone estrogen, which is naturally produced in female bodies. During lactation, a mother experiences hormonal changes. This shift in the production of hormones can cause a delay in the menstrual periods, which means there is a reduction of estrogen development. During this period, the female body is less exposed to estrogen than someone who never experiences lactation. Therefore, the chances for developing breast cancer are highly reduced.

Likewise, breastfeeding and the lactation period can also reduce the risk for ovarian cancer. Since the mother does not ovulate or have menstrual cycles during this time, she is less exposed to these risks. Overall, the promotion of breastfeeding is highly encouraged.

Tips for Maximizing Breastfeeding Safety

The best way to ensure that you are reducing the risk for cancer during the lactation period is to breastfeed your child for at least six months, if not more. During this time, the baby should be exclusively fed by natural breastfeeding, rather than through formula solutions in a bottle.

The American Institute for Cancer Research provides ample evidence of the extreme health benefits to both you and your child during the six-month practice of exclusive breastfeeding. This is largely due to the fact that your baby receives the best nutrients for them during this crucial developmental stage.

Mothers who breastfeed for over a year are 63% less likely to develop cancer than those who spend less than half a year breastfeeding. Those who choose to breastfeed their child for over 30 months have over a 91% chance of reducing the risk for ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding Protects Your Baby as Well

Not only can you reduce the risks for cancer by breastfeeding, but your child is benefiting from the same protection as well. Natural breastfeeding can keep your child from later developing health issues such as obesity or weight management issues. The nutrients found in breast milk also create a protection that reduces your child’s risk for breast, kidney, pancreatic, rectal, and endometrial cancers.

Plus, your child’s immune system is hyper-boosted during the breastfeeding period. And the longer you’re able to naturally breastfeed your child, the stronger their immune system will be. There is clear research to show that breastfeeding is one of the most advantageous things you can do for both your child and yourself.

Best Breast Cancer Doctor in Houston

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the breastfeeding period, or you want to learn more about the ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer, get in touch with the best breast cancer doctor in Houston. You can contact us online for a quick response or to schedule a consultation. We are also available at (713) 714-3930 to speak with you at any time. We look forward to answering all your questions and getting you the help you need as soon as possible!