By Tracey Dowdy
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign by the National Breast Cancer Foundation to increase awareness of the disease. One in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, making it the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Fortunately, the research that’s gone into finding a cure means breast cancer is no longer the death sentence it used to be. A study published in February of this year found that advances in treatment have saved hundreds of thousands of American women, though there’s still much work to do. This year, an estimated American 41,760 women will die from breast cancer.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with breast cancer, these sites provide valuable resources and information to help you navigate your treatment plan.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is, of course, the premier site for cancer-related support and resources. As a nationwide organization dedicated to cancer research, education, advocacy, and support, ACS offers resources to help understand your diagnosis, explore options for treatment plans, and find resources to help cover the cost of treatment. They also provide resources for your caregivers and family as they support you during treatment.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure raises funds for research, education, and outreach, though probably best known for their community events such as Race for the Cure. Komen has affiliates throughout the United States and internationally. Their website offers financial assistance and insurance information, educational resources on screening and detection, treatment options, and ways to fundraise and get involved in their efforts.
CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free, professional help to people with all cancers and their loved ones through counseling, education, support groups, and direct financial assistance. You can search for help by diagnosis or topic, find stories of hope and encouragement from cancer survivors and medical professionals, and much more.
MyLifeLine.org is an easy-to-use online platform that allows patients to create a personalized web support community to keep family and friends updated. You can share photos, participate in discussion boards, assign a friend to delegate tasks, get help with website management, access resources for financial issues, health insurance, treatment options, clinical trials, diagnoses, nutrition, and much more.
BreastFree is a site designed for women who are considering or who have decided to have no reconstruction after mastectomy. You can read the reasons behind breast cancer survivors’ decisions and experiences, see photos of women pre- and post-mastectomy, get insight into post-mastectomy issues, and get advice and tips on living breast-free.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of women affected by breast cancer. In addition to their website, LBBC offers the Survivors’ Helpline, educational conferences, a quarterly newsletter, consumer-focused materials, and outreach to medically underserved women. The site provides resources specifically geared to young women with breast cancer as well as resources in Spanish.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.