Breast cancer accounts for 30% of all new female cancers every year, making it the most common cancer women experience in the United States. If you or a loved one has breast cancer, you may wonder what breast cancer support services are out there.
Of course, doctors are there to help with physical treatment. However, they don’t have the capacity to be a mental or emotional support. Despite the best attempts of friends and family, they may not understand what you’re truly going through.
Receiving such a scary diagnosis can bring about all kinds of overwhelming feelings: fear, loss of hope, anxiety, stress, and more. Oftentimes, people experience difficulty finding the breast cancer support services and care they need. On top of that, financial concerns get involved. As you can imagine, breast cancer treatment comes with a major price tag, and that’s a source of stress for many women.
So what helpful and affordable breast cancer support services can women take advantage of during their fight against breast cancer? Moreover, how can you ensure that other women get the breast cancer support services that they need?
Enter: The Bridge Breast Network.
The Bridge Breast Network was created back in 1992 when Dr. Sally Knox, a breast surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center, donated her time and her services to patients who could not pay for their breast cancer treatment. Either they didn’t have insurance, or they had insurance with such a high deductible that rendered the coverage essentially useless.
Some women were forced to choose between feeding their families or paying for their breast cancer treatment, which is something that no one should ever have to face.
While Dr. Knox could donate her time, she didn’t have access to labs and chemotherapy to help these patients. Her work was so valuable to so many women who were struggling with their diagnosis. The thought that breast cancer support for current and future patients may disappear or not be made available due to lack of funding was unacceptable.
Breast cancer survivors in the community came together and created a solution: they established a 501(c)(3) organization, so Dr. Knox could expand her services and care to encompass more of the breast cancer journey. They called it The Bridge Breast Center.
They later changed the name to the Bridge Breast Network. Today, this organization has grown to include over 300 medical providers and 200 community partners. Together they guide patients all the way from early detection to breast cancer treatment.
This guidance includes labs, x-rays, treatment options, as well as filling other voids that many women find their insurance has created.
One such example is a shift in many insurance policies that now determines specific services, which used to be covered, are no longer deemed necessities. Two of these key things are compression garments and wigs.
Thankfully, Bridge Breast Network has stepped in to help provide women with compression garments and wigs. Additionally, they offer wig fittings.
Compression garments are important after breast cancer surgery. They can help reduce the risk of lymphedema. Although wigs are not necessary for the physical treatment of breast cancer, they do aid a great deal when it comes to the mental and emotional side of this diagnosis. Losing hair is no easy thing to overcome as a woman with breast cancer. Oftentimes, wigs play a major role in providing confidence and maintaining a connection to womanhood when undergoing all the changes that breast cancer brings.
Unfortunately, some uneducated people argue that cancer patients should cover their own wig costs. On the contrary, a quality wig has a price tag of anywhere from $300-$700. Realistically, this is not within the budget of many women, especially alongside other expenses.
As you can imagine, donations are the lifeblood of Bridge Breast Network. As a non-profit organization, it runs on time and with money donated.
Terry Wilson-Gray, Executive Director of Bridge Breast Network, explained that for every dollar donated, Bridge Breast Network leverages it 10 times.
Additionally, the organization’s medical network donates around $3 million in medical services annually. This allows them to take women through early detection, treatment, and one year of follow-up for about $22,000.
As you can see, the Bridge Breast Network provides breast cancer patients with life-changing and life-saving care. They have guided many women through an incredibly scary and complex time in their lives to a place of health and confidence without the stress of medical bills.
With the holiday season upon us, consider donating to Bridge Breast Network. If you’ve ever been touched by breast cancer, you know this is a tough journey. It takes a team and resources to get through. Help women currently dealing with breast cancer to have hope for their future. Give them the physical, mental, and financial support necessary to keep fighting. Donate to save lives today.
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