One in eight American women -- and 1 in 1,000 American men -- will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives with an estimated 2 million people diagnosed each year.
While breast cancer is difficult to navigate alone — for both patients and their loved ones -- support networks can help.
"It can be helpful to have someone to turn to and learn from who has gone through the same thing.”
Groups offer emotional support, and can help patients feel less depressed and reduce physical pain, according to a 2001 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
To help in the battle, local resources and support groups abound, including the following:
- Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Support Group: ValleyCare Medical Plaza health library, 5725 W. Las Positas Blvd., Pleasanton. Thursdays, Oct. 11 and 25. 10 a.m. to noon. Free. Further details here or call (925) 734-3315.
- John Muir Health Breast Cancer Support Group: Guest oncology experts present information, support, tools to assist in coping. Meets second and fourth Thursdays of each month 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Walnut Creek. Call (925) 933-0107 to register.
- Breast Cancer Survivorship Group: Fremont Center Community Health Resource Center, 3200 Kearney St., Fremont. Meets monthly; next meeting Oct. 24. 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free. For more information or to register, call Palo Alto Medical Foundation (510) 623-2231.
- Recurrence Diagnosis Group: For women experiencing a second diagnosis with support in a relaxed, confidential environment. Call San Jose-based Bay Area Breast Cancer Network to register (408) 261-1425. Meetings are the first and third Tuesdays 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. every month.
- Couples Workshops led by licensed professional for couples living with breast cancer. For registration and location, call BABCN at (408) 261-1425.
- Davis Street Family Resource Center: 3081 Teagarden St., San Leandro. Support for African-American women. All ages welcome. Free. Call for times at (510) 347-4620.
- Primary Diagnosis - Inspirational support group meets 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. through San Jose-based BABCN on the first and third Mondays each month. Call (408) 261-1425.
- Recycle For Breast Cancer: E-waste drop-off center, 31 Beta Court,
Suite C, San Ramon. (800) 315.9580. Details: www.recycleforbreastcancer.org
- Survivor Transition Group: through San Jose-based BABCN.Meets the second Tuesday each month 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register by calling (408) 261-1425.
- Breast Cancer Writing Workshop: begins Oct. 23 6:30 p.m. at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave., San Francisco. Cost: $40. Five-week class aimed at developing a voice/crafting stories of healing. Led by survivor. For details: www.monadevestel.com/#!workshops.
- Kaiser Permanente cancer support groups offered in Fremont, Union City and Hayward. Free. Some for members only; others open to public. Details here.
- Eden Medical Center Outpatient Rehabilitation Oncology Team, Castro Valley: Therapists with certification developed by Oncology Rehab Partners for physical and emotional healing. Call (510) 618-1800.
- Chinese-speaking Breast Cancer Support Group: meets every other month. Next meeting Oct. 13, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 701 E. El Camino Real, Mountain View. Free. To confirm location/schedule, call (510) 797-0600.
- Latino Cancer Support Community: meets third Monday of every month 10 a.m. to noon at Cancer Support Community, 3276 McNutt Ave., Walnut Creek. (Support groups also in Pittsburg and San Pablo.) Contact Cyndi Lezcano, Latino Program Coordinator at 800-556-0477 or visit web site at www.cancersupportcommunity.net
- Washington Hospital Healthcare System: For women who have survived or are living with breast cancer. Family welcome. Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 (first Thursdays of each month) 7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. Women's Center Conference Room, 2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont. (510) 608-1356.
- American Cancer Society volunteers offer rides to and from treatment. Call "Road to Recovery" at 1-800-227-2345.
- Marzel's, Walnut Creek and Pleasanton, sells breast protheses, compression garments, wigs, headwear. Takes insurance. Make house calls, if needed. Call (925) 939-2450 for Walnut Creek; (925) 277-1402 for Pleasanton.
- Valley Rags & Wigs: San Ramon Road, Dublin, (925) 829-3333. Wigs and headwear.
- Patient Advocate Foundation: national non-profit serves as liaison between patients and insurers, employers and/or creditors. Call (888) 879-4210.
- Project Open Hand in Alameda County: Provides meals to breast cancer victims in need. Call coordinator (415) 447-2321.
- Breast Self-Exam Instruction: Palo Alto Medical Foundation educators in Dublin, Fremont and Palo Alto provide individual self-exam instruction in English and Spanish. For information in Dublin, call (925) 875-6150; in Fremont (510) 623-2231; Palo Alto (650) 614-3200.
Patients who aren’t fans of group settings can turn to technology. It’s hard to duplicate in-person support, but the recently launched breast cancer-specific, social-networking MyBreastCancerTeam comes close.
And while the Internet is useful, Copit worries online forums spread misinformation and suggests patients tap such groups as Living Beyond Breast Cancer, which offers a confidential helpline.
The highly regarded LBCC addresses "the what happens next" phase for survivors, said Debra Mitchell, Pleasanton designer and founder of Twisted Silver Jewelry.
LBCC's mission and success is why Mitchell selected that particular not-for-profit as the designated recipient of proceeds from her "Living Beyond Bracelet."
Individuals can contact LBCC at (888) 753-5222.
Have we missed any area breast-cancer support groups or services? Let us know in the comments section.
Writer Dana Leigh Smith contributed to this article.