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Support Boosts Breast Cancer Patients: November 6, 2013

“On May the 8th I had my first operation on my cancer,” says Norma Canales.

In her fight against cancer, Canales has many, many allies - a big family who is with her every step of the way.

“They helped me a lot. They were there to take me to the doctors. If I felt sick, they were there cooking for me,” says Canales.

A cancer diagnosis is a family affair.

“It hurts even more because it’s like, you only have one mother. She’s my best friend she’s the grandmother to my kids. That being said, it just helped us be stronger for her,” says her daughter, Eva Canales.

A support system for breast cancer patients has tangible benefits. Women who were surveyed two months after getting the news were most likely to rate their quality of life as good. And patients who felt they had positive social interactions reported less pain.

At the Regional Cancer Center, the support system is part of the health system.

“It takes a team of physicians to take care of a breast cancer diagnosis. So the multidisciplinary breast clinic brings that all together. When she’s here she will see her breast surgeon, her medical oncologist, the radiation oncologist - all at the same visit,” says Tammy Zinn, breast health navigator with Lee Memorial Health System.

In treating the patient, they are also treating the family.

“Every doctor we talked to and every assistant we talked to, they were all telling me and my sisters the same information. And they felt comfortable telling us,” says Eva Canales.

Big family included, it takes an army of support to beat cancer.

“I’m still coming here and everything is good,” says Canales.