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Breast Cancer Support Groups in Decatur, Avondale Estates

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here's a list of local breast cancer support groups.

One in 8 American women and 1 in 1,000 American men will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s estimated that more than 2 million people are diagnosed with breast cancer and fight for their lives each year.

Breast cancer is difficult to face alone—for both patients and their loved ones. To help in the battle, there are a number of local resources and support groups.

  • Cancer survival at DeKalb Medical. Learn survival and coping skills, relaxation techniques, meditation and imaging, and how to deal with fear. Free. Meets at various times. For information, call 404-501-5701.
  • Free housing for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society provides free housing for patients receiving treatment in Atlanta. Information: Winn Dixie Hope Lodge, 1552 Shoup Court, Decatur, GA 30033; (404) 327-9200.
  • Pretty Please. Though not a support group per se, this shop provides plenty of help with mastectomy fittings, swimwear, wigs, turbans, hats & hairpieces, compression garments, prostheses and mastectomy bras. 3920 North Druid Hills Road, Decatur, GA 30033. (404) 634-6309.
  • Look good ... feel better at DeKalb Medical. This group helps women cope with side effects of cancer treatment and feel more comfortable with changes in their appearance. Offered the third Thursday of each month. A complimentary pretty red bag filled with brand name cosmetic products, expert tips and advice by a beauty expert and access to the free wig and scarves collection of the cancer center is included in the free session. Call 404-501-5701 for your reservation. Free. Meets 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Thursday of each month.

“Support groups are really beneficial,” says Debra Somerrs Copit, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Albert Einstein Medical Center, and a member of the medical advisory board for Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

“When patients are told they’re sick, it can be an out of body experience and they aren’t taking in everything the doctor is saying. It can be helpful to have someone to turn to and learn from who has gone through the same thing,” says Copit, who is a breast cancer survivor herself.

Not only do groups offer emotional support, but being a part of a support group can actually help patients feel less depressed and can help to reduce physical pain, according to a 2001 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients who aren’t big fans of group settings but still want to reap the benefits can turn to technology. It’s hard to duplicate in-person support groups on the web, but the recently launched breast cancer specific social networking platform, MyBreastCancerTeam comes close.

The site and mobile app caters to breast cancer survivors, and women  who have been recently diagnosed. Users can find suggestions for doctors and find similar users based on location, diagnosis and age. Members also have access to peer-driven Q&A section where they can read and write posts.

While a web platform may be useful for some, Dr.Copit worries that online forums can sometimes trigger the spread of misinformation. She suggests that patients who can’t make it to an in-person support group try calling a phone line.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer has a confidential survivors’ helpline that connects patients with others of similar background, going through similar situation. Call (888) 753-LBBC (5222) for more information.

TELL US: Do you know of any breast cancer support groups in the community? How have they helped you?

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