The Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA) is pleased to partner with ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD). This partnership is a further step in LBCA’s efforts to expand the capacity of existing breast cancer support systems across the country to better meet the needs of patients with lobular breast cancer.
LBCA frequently receives inquiries from patients seeking support with navigating their diagnosis, care, and treatment. In such cases, these patients can often be well-supported through a peer-mentor relationship. In the past, LBCA has referred women to support programs but has never been certain that there are mentors with lobular breast cancer who are part of those programs and can truly be an appropriate match. In other cases, LBCA has received inquiries from patients who are at a point in their care and their life when they are interested in supporting others with lobular breast cancer. Since the LBCA does not currently provide these services, it sought a solution to help both of these groups. This led LBCA to formalize its partnership with ABCD.
ABCD’s peer mentor program provides trained volunteer mentors who provide one-to-one emotional support by phone, text or online to people affected by breast cancer to whom they have been matched through ABCD’s program. The Mentors are individuals who have had or are living with breast cancer, are friends or family members of a breast cancer patient, or are those who have been a caregiver to a breast cancer patient. All Mentors, with the exception of Metastatic Mentors, are at least one year past their last treatment date.
ABCD Mentors understand what it feels like to receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and they are committed to helping. They are available to provide as much or as little support as is needed to their “Participant” from the moment of diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond.
Each Mentor has completed an eight-hour training specifically developed for ABCD by well-respected professionals to help them best use their personal breast cancer experience to comfort and guide those they will be mentoring. ABCD provides ongoing support to Mentors to ensure that they have the tools and connections they need to be most effective in their role.
“I am excited to formalize this partnership with ABCD that will expand the support system for patients with ILC! We look forward to referring patients with ILC who wish to support others to ABCD to become trained and supervised as peer mentors,” said LBCA Executive Director Laurie Hutcheson, who is also an ABCD Mentor. “We are also thrilled to be able to refer others with ILC for peer support knowing they can be matched effectively with ABCD Mentors with ILC who understand this breast cancer subtype and the particular challenges of ILC.”
ABCD Director of Program Services & Healthcare Partnerships Judy Mindin commented, “ABCD is pleased to begin a partnership with LBCA. For 22 years ABCD has worked as a complement to the breast cancer patient’s medical team, and we are continually striving to ensure our unique mentoring program rises to the top. This important partnership will help us to not only expand our network but strengthen our ability to support all those affected by a lobular breast cancer diagnosis. We sincerely look forward to working with the LBCA to focus on building awareness and in turn help a far greater number of people.”
Potential volunteers interested in the program can visit https://abcdbreastcancersupport.org/get-involved/become-a-mentor/ to learn more. Trainings for new Mentors typically take place twice a year with the next occurring in June 2021.
About ABCD: Since 1999, ABCD staff and more than 700 Mentors have supported thousands of people in the United States and around the world, providing hope, understanding, and guidance to anyone who needs it. Decades of research indicate that patients who take advantage of non-clinical support like ABCD’s customized, one-to-one support are more likely to finish treatment, have improved survival rates, show a reduced risk of recurrence, and report experiencing less distress, healthier social relationships, and an improved quality of life.
About Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance: Founded in 2017 by patient advocates with ILC, the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance engages patients, clinicians, and researchers to increase knowledge of lobular breast disease and promote lobular breast cancer research. Working with the guidance of an international, expert scientific advisory board of breast cancer researchers and clinicians, patient advocate volunteers, and through growing collaborations with other breast cancer advocacy organizations, LBCA provides a platform for ILC research, maintains a library of current lobular breast cancer studies, and identifies clinical trials and ILC patient research advocacy opportunities with a focus on lobular breast disease. Visit us at lobularbreastcancer.org.