Resources & Support

As the saying goes, “Knowledge is Power”. The more you know the better you are able to make informed decisions about your health care and treatments. Please take a few minutes to educate yourself about the many organizations which share information useful to both patients and survivors. Live, learn and pass it on!

This links on this page are organized into the following categories:

Breast Cancer News and Information

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Their mission is to empower all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life.

Susan G. Komen org

Celebrating more than 20 years of patient advocacy, building awareness and raising nearly $600 million for innovative breast cancer research and community outreach programs.

BreastCancer.org – Our Online Chat Partner

Your Complete Resource for Breast Health. Founded by Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Founder and President, Dr. Marisa Weiss, breastcancer.org addresses all aspects of breast health, from prevention to treatment and beyond.


The BreastCancer.Net This site features up-to-date breast cancer-related news, and links to organizations and sites of interest to breast cancer survivors. You can also register to receive their free e-mail newsletter, which comes out nearly every day, to alert you to breast cancer news stories.

Healthology‘s mission is to improve the credibility and quality of health content on the Internet. Healthology has created the largest library of physician-generated online health content in both text and streaming formats, working directly with thousands of thought leading healthcare professionals from around the country.

Myriad Genetic Laboratories is a leader in cancer predisposition testing. Up to 10 percent of all cancers are inherited. Myriad discovered the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that cause hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, and now offers the most accurate clinical tests available to determine predisposition to cancer: BRACAnalysis for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, COLARIS for hereditary colon and endometrial cancer, and MELARIS for hereditary melanoma and pancreatic cancer. These tests are unparalleled in accuracy, quality and customer service.

The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) is a non-profit information and education resource on breast cancer, with a network of over 400 member organizations nationwide. Their site provides breast cancer news updates, a calendar of events, information on support groups and links to other organizations.

BreastCancerHealth.org Breast cancer patients who are educated about their disease can benefit, not only in terms of treatment, but also in attitude & outlook. This site was created by physicians to provide information about hormonal therapy and chemotherapy treatment strategies and how they can improve the lives of breast cancer patients and survivors.

Optimal Breast Cancer Care We aspire to be the best breast cancer treatment and service organization by having a single common goal – to deliver Optimal Care to women. With that in mind, we’ve assembled excellent cancer doctors to work as part of our multidisciplinary team. We believe Optimal Care for women is best delivered through a team-based approach. Equally important members of our team are psychotherapists, researchers and patient advocates. Optimal Care constitutes treatment of the whole woman.

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Breast Cancer Support and Advocacy

AboutHealth.com is the site of Family Health Productions, a non-profit company which produces and distributes public health-related multi-media including videos, guides, bookmarks, training materials and booklets. The breast cancer section of AboutHealth.com features stories of survivorship in Our Perspective and The Journey, which are written by those living with and impacted by breast cancer. You can also find information about the video “When Breast Cancer Comes Back: Skills for Living.”

The Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Initiative – Created by The American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, this public education initiative designed to protect the legal rights of breast cancer patients. Their site provides the history of the project, and information on breast cancer law and advocacy.

Cancer Black Care (CBC) is an organization that addresses the cultural and emotional needs of black people affected by cancer, as well as their families, friends and care givers. Their site provides an overview of their services, and contact information for CBC.

Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) is a nonprofit organization for women who are at high risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer due to their family history and genetic status, and for members of families in which a BRCA mutation may be present. FORCE’s web site can be a helpful resource for anyone who knows she is at risk, who wonders whether she might be at risk, or who cares about the issues and concerns that women at risk face.

Imerman Angels carefully matches and individually pairs a person touched by cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Cancer caregivers (spouses, parents, children and other family and friends of fighters) also receive 1-on-1 connections with other caregivers and survivors. These 1-on-1 relationships inspire hope and offer the chance to ask personal questions and receive support from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. The service is absolutely free and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world.

Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer is a unique resource for mothers looking for support and guidance in helping their daughters deal with breast cancer. The site provides a way to connect with other mothers who have been there.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is a grassroots advocacy organization, whose mission is to eradicate breast cancer through action and advocacy. The goal of NBCC’s web site is to help those interested to join the fight against breast cancer. It provides access to information about NBCC’s history, goals and accomplishments, how to become a member, their legislative agenda and political campaign, and current programs, including Project LEAD and Clinical Trials Project.

Pink Daisy Project -Bill Pay/Patient Assistance- Pink Daisy Project helps patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer with meals, gas, groceries with preference to women under 45, single mothers women who are underinsured and most recently in treatment.

The Pink Fund-The mission of The Pink Fund is to provide short-term financial aid to women and men (and therefore their families) who are in active treatment for and recovery from breast cancer.

SHARE – SHARE Cancer Support is the leading ovarian and breast cancer organization, offering support for women with breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

A message from SHARE: We are excited to announce that starting this Fall, we will begin to provide live telephone coverage from not just 9 to 5 each week day but 9:30 – 9:00 pm.  Volunteers will also be available on Saturdays and Sundays as well.

Vital Options TeleSupport Cancer Network is a national psychosocial cancer support, advocacy communications organization. Vital Options, in association with Premiere Radio Networks, produces The Group Room�, a weekly nationally syndicated radio call-in talk show about cancer. The Group Room links callers with other cancer survivors, family members, physicians, researchers, and health care providers who work with cancer issues. The Group Room airs live on Sundays on stations across the country from 1-3pm PT/4-6pm ET and simulcast on the web at www.vitaloptions.org.

The Young Survival Coalition is an organization whose mission is to bring attention to issues surrounding breast cancer in young women. Their site provides access to their newsletter as well as bulletin boards, information and event listings for younger women affected by breast cancer.

BreastCancerStories.com BreastCancerStories.com is an online support community where those
touched by breast cancer can share their experiences with loved ones and
with one another.

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Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Treatment

The University of Texas Center for Alternative Medicine (UT-CAM) is one of eleven research centers established by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (formerly Office of Alternative Medicine, OAM) at the National Institutes of Health to evaluate alternative therapies. The University of Texas Center is the only OAM supported institution focused solely on alternative and complementary treatments for cancer, and is co-funded by the National Cancer Institute.

One of the Center’s accomplishments has been to evaluate the science for various common biologic, pharmacologic and herbal therapies. About thirty of these evaluations are posted on the web site, complete with reviews of the scientific literature and non-technical summaries. Their current research projects are summarized and include clinical trials, animal studies, laboratory studies, surveys and epidemiologic studies. A list of books, periodicals, peer reviewed journals, internet sites and organizations dealing with “unconventional” or natural therapies is included in the Resource List.

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General Cancer Information

The American Cancer Society maintains a web site that provides access to information about all types of cancer, news stories, research information, statistics, alternative approaches, and tips for living with cancer. A nice feature of this site is the section on how to tell children about a parent’s cancer diagnosis.

the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) is a resource for cancer patients, doctors and researchers. The site includes general cancer information and cancer news items that have been reviewed by ASCO editors. In addition, there are links to other Web sites, selected by ASCO OnLine editors as useful sources of cancer information and support. The Professionals Area includes ASCO publications, abstracts from the annual meeting, ASCO Annual Report, updates on legislative developments and ASCO policy statements on issues such as genetic testing and pain control. And finally, their membership database is available for online searching, to assist people in finding oncologists.

Aurora Imaging Technology, Inc. is committed to expanding the fight against breast disease by advancing breast imaging. As the developer and manufacturer of the AURORA, the world’s first Dedicated Breast MRI system, we are committed to helping physicians and, ultimately, their patients with advanced technologies for earlier detection of breast disease, resulting in the most timely, effective treatment planning.

CancerCare is dedicated to helping people face the many challenges of a cancer diagnosis. As the largest national non-profit organization of its kind, CancerCare provides free professional support services including counseling, education, financial assistance and practical help to people across the country. Our services are available to people of all ages, with all types of cancer and at any stage of the disease. More information about CancerCare can be obtained by calling 1-800-813-HOPE.

CancerPage.com provides cancer information and community by informing, connecting and empowering cancer survivors. Features of the site include the latest news on breast cancer, survivorship stories and experiences, “Ask Our RN” and physician and service directories.

CURE: Cancer Updates, Research & Education is a free magazine for people with cancer, survivors and caregivers that combines the science and humanity of dealing with the cancer experience. Visit CURE’s web site to read current and past issues. For a free subscription, sign up at the website or call 800.210.CURE.

The National Cancer Institute has a comprehensive web site, from which you can access a wealth of information, including basic cancer facts, cancer news and research. Information about clinical trials can be accessed directly at NCI_CANCER_TRIALS which includes an excellent explanation of clinical trials, and suggestions on how to decide whether to participate in one. This site provides access to one of the best places to find specific trials through its database, Physician’s Data Query (PDQ). Links to web sites of Cancer Centers around the country, with clinical trial listings and contact information, are also provided here.

The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center’s OncoLink is one of the best all-around cancer web sites. It covers topics ranging from medical facts about specific types of cancer, specific procedures, symptom management, screening and prevention to psychosocial issues, personal stories, and financial issues, this site is a terrific resource for anyone dealing with cancer. There is even an exhibition of art by people – adults and children – who have been affected by cancer.

Cancer Consultants provides patients and their families with the most current cancer treatment information and facilitates access to the latest cancer treatments options, drugs, and treatment strategies through clinical trials.

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Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Note: This information  has been crafted for MHC by D. Power from Disability Benefits Help.  My Hope Chest does not endorse or validate the content but encourages you to do your own research.

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer will face challenges on several fronts: physical, emotional, and financial. Treatment, specialists and the support of family and friends can help you cope with the first two hurdles, and if breast cancer leaves you unable to work, there are Social Security disability programs that provide financial support to qualified applicants. This money, which is paid as a monthly cash benefit, can be used to cover all necessities, from daily living expenses to medical bills.

Many women are uncertain as to whether or not breast cancer qualifies for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disability” as a condition that:

●      Has lasted or is expected to last a minimum of one year, or is terminal

●      Prevents you from doing the same type of work, or any work you’re qualified for, before the disabling condition set in

●      Places physical or mental limitations on your ability to learn a different occupation

Not all cases of breast cancer can be classified as “disabling,” by the SSA, although women with more advanced cases can often qualify, sometimes in just a couple of weeks. When/if you do qualify, your benefits are not guaranteed to be indefinite in duration. If your cancer improves in response to treatment, your case will be reviewed and, if you are deemed able to work once again, your benefits be stopped. 

What Disability Benefits Are Available?

There are two disability programs available through the SSA. The medical criteria for qualifying are the same in both cases, but each program is intended for a different type of applicant. 

●      Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): If you have worked and paid Social Security taxes in your recent past, you will probably qualify for SSDI, which pays benefits to disabled workers and their eligible dependents. All SSDI recipients will be eligible for Medicare 24 months after the onset of their disability, which typically means when your breast cancer became severe enough to keep you from working.

●      Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is a needs-based program aimed at individuals with little to no income or assets. Children, the blind, and the elderly are typical recipients of SSI benefits. In most states, approved applicants also receive Medicaid.

Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits with Breast Cancer

When you apply for disability, the SSA will evaluate your eligibility by consulting the Blue Book, which is the organization’s official publication of disabling conditions The disability criteria for breast cancer are referenced in Listing 13.10: Cancer-Breast. According to this listing, if you meet one of the criteria below, you will be considered disabled.

●      A locally advanced carcinoma that has extended to the chest, skin, or internal mammary nodes

●      A carcinoma that has spread past the collarbone and/or distant areas of the chest, or extended to at least 10 armpit nodes, 

●      A carcinoma that returns despite a round of cancer treatment, typically three months or more

●      Small-cell (oat cell) carcinoma

Blue Book Listing 13.04 covers soft-tissue sarcoma, which could refer to women with breast cancer. To qualify for disability benefits under this listing, you must have been diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma that:

●      has spread locally or to distant parts of the body OR

●      keeps recurring after antineoplastic therapy

When you apply, you must also submit medical documentation that confirms the diagnosis and outlines your treatment history. Your doctor will fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which the SSA will use to evaluate how breast cancer has affected your ability to maintain gainful employment. SSI applicants will have to be interviewed by a SSA representative.

The Compassionate Allowances Program

Applicants with certain serious disabilities can receive benefits more quickly via the Compassionate Allowances program. If your breast cancer has spread to distant parts of your body and cannot be operated on or completely removed, you will qualify for expedited processing. Many women who have IBC (inflammatory breast cancer) or metastatic breast cancer will not be evaluated as frequently as those with other forms of breast cancer. This often means that you can keep your benefits for longer than others.

Disability Benefits Review

Once you have been approved for disability benefits, the SSA will periodically review your medical condition to confirm that you continue to have a qualifying disability. If your condition improves to the extent that you are able to work once, the benefits will stop.

For more information about applying for SSA benefits when you are living with breast cancer, visit the Social SecurityAdministration’s website, or make a schedule at your local SSA office, by calling 1-800-772-1213 toll free. The monthly payments and access to medical care can ease your burden as you work towards recovery.

Be sure to update the SSA as you receive treatments after approval. If your treatments do not go as planned, or if you have complications, you may be able to remain on Social Security benefits as long as you are still unable to work.

 


General Health News

National Women’s Health Information Center From the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Women’s Health Information Center site features up-to-date news, in-depth special reports, and summaries from major professional conferences on a broad range of topics pertaining to general women’s health issues.

WebMD.com is a comprehensive general health resource that features an online library, news, message boards and online chat events. Several sections pertain to women’s health issues.

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