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“You have breast cancer.” These are among the most frightening words a patient can hear a doctor utter. Yet in the United States more than 214,000 women and men hear them each year.
Just those words can turn someone's world upside down and leave that person feeling alone, afraid, and hopeless. However, having information and knowing where to turn for support can help a patient regain a sense of hope and control. Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization is there, 24/7, to educate and support those living with breast cancer.
Y-ME, a network of patients helping patients, understands the value of peer support—talking to someone other than family or friends and learning from someone who has also heard those devastating words, “You have breast cancer.”
Y-ME offers a variety of services so patients can choose the type of support best for them. Some programs are based on one-on-one peer support, such as Y-ME's 24/7 hotline, while the ShareRing Network is an at-home group activity. In addition, Y-ME publishes informative materials, such as the quarterly newsletter Lifeline. All programs are free of charge and confidential.
“Am I going to die?” “My wife was just diagnosed with breast cancer. What do we do?” “How can I make decisions about my treatment when I'm so upset?” These are common questions among the 40,000 calls the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Hotline receives each year. Y-ME's trained and certified peer counselors are all breast cancer survivors and help callers by giving emotional support and information about breast cancer procedures and treatment options.
The Y-ME hotline does not endorse specific treatment options or protocols or give medical advice, but peer counselors can replace fear with facts and help patients understand how to weigh their options to personalize their treatment. Peer counselors also coach callers on how to communicate effectively with their doctors, and they encourage callers to be the key players on their health care teams.
For breast cancer support or information, including publications and newsletters, visit www.y-me.org or call the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Hotline at 800-221-2141 (English, with interpreters in 150 languages) or 800-986-9505 (Spanish).