Breast Cancer

Support groups

On the Peninsula, The Breast Cancer Support Group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Riverside Cancer Care Center Conference Room.

On the Middle Peninsula, The Breast Cancer Support Group meets the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital DCR Conference Room. 

Here for the Girls is an informal support group for young women – 40s and younger – who have had breast cancer. For more information, please visit hereforthegirls.org

The Tree Branch Boutique is at the Riverside Cancer Care Center in Newport News. The Boutique provides free wigs, wig fittings and head coverings. Call 1-800-520-7007 to talk with someone about wig fittings and wig cutting.

The breast cancer patient navigator

Riverside Cancer Care’s Patient Navigation program helps guide patients and their families through the health care system in general and the breast cancer experience in particular.

Elizabeth Jenkins, BSN, RN, OCN Breast Cancer Navigator for Peninsula & Williamsburg |757-594-4229 | CancerNurseNavigators@rivhs.com

Christine Johnson, BSN, RN, OCN Breast Cancer Navigator for Middle Peninsula | 804-791-3298 | CancerNurseNavigators@rivhs.com

Bras, camisoles, prosthetics

Following a lumpectomy or mastectomy, women often need to wear special undergarments immediately following their hospital stay. Depending on the surgery, they may need to wear a loose fitting bra or camisole, or a bra that acts more like a compression garment. Additionally, as many women leave the hospital with drains from surgery, having garments with built in pockets to hold the drains can be particularly helpful. Insurance typically covers some of these costs. Please speak with the Breast Cancer Patient Navigator for more information.

Wigs

Hair loss is often the most recognizable side effect of cancer treatments, but it is not experienced by every patient. Most insurance companies help cover the costs of wigs (technically known as “cranial prosthetics”!), but the AmericanCancer Society and other support organizations can also help you obtain a wig if you need one.

Male breast cancer

Breast cancer does not only affect women. In fact, close to 2,000 men in the United States are diagnosed each year with invasive breast cancer. As with women, not all male breast disorders are cancerous, and immediate medical follow up is very important when symptoms are noted. Some symptoms include breast enlargement (gynecomastia), nipple discharge, burning, or bleeding, dumpling or puckering in the breast, or nipple retraction. Remember, these symptoms are often not associated with cancer, and early diagnosis can help assure early detection- and peace of mind.

Sexuality issues

Many couples are concerned about how cancer, and the treatment that follows, will affect their sexual intimacy.

Fertility concerns

Many women are concerned about how their breast cancer treatment will affect their future fertility. Be sure to discuss this concern with your physician to understand the impact of treatments, as well as options for your situation.

Pregnancy and cancer treatment

Women can be diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy. While this is a frightening situation, women should not feel alone or hopeless. Studies show that certain treatments can be successfully administered to women during their second and third trimesters. If you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or could become pregnant, please discuss this with your physicians as soon as possible. It is also critical to mention your pregnancy prior to any diagnostic testing or surgery.

Integrative therapies

At Riverside, we believe that it is important to treat the entire patient, not just the cancer, and our Integrative Medicine program, offered through the Peninsula Cancer Institute, is one of the ways we do that.

Nurse educator

Fran Holcomb is Riverside Cancer Service’s Nurse Educator. As an Oncology Certified Nurse, Fran is a community resource for cancer patients and their family, friends, and significant others. Fran can help with breast and cervical cancer early detection programs, cancer screenings and other prevention materials. Her office is located adjacent to the Cancer Resources Library, on the first floor of the Riverside Cancer Care Center.

Web resources