Monday, December 19, 2016

Peer Support

When first diagnosed with breast cancer, I started going to support groups. And I was very appreciative of what I learned from the other women in them. I also found support in online communities which helped me even more. You go to your support group weekly but the online groups were available 24/7.

I can't tell you how much I learned at my support groups that helped me understand my treatment protocol, what to ask my doctor, and more. The peer support was very different from what I learned from my doctor. In some ways it was less invasive but more personal than my oncologist and his team.

Now a hospital is using a peer support group to help promote communication across different groups and to help reduce differences in rates of screening and survival, particularly in Latina/Hispanic women as this hospital is in New Mexico.

I think this is one of those 'doh' moments that someone should have thought of sooner. There are many other peer support networks out there. But to have one at a hospital to help improve the physical and emotional health of those with breast cancer, is amazing.

I hope many other hospitals try this type of activity for those with breast cancer or other ailments where there are disparities.

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