The GW Cancer Institute (GWCI) is in its second year of funding from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help increase the quality of survivorship care for D.C.-area breast cancer survivors.
As a result of a $500,000 grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure given in January of 2012, GWCI has been able to help cancer survivors as they experience the physical, psychological and practical challenges in the months and years that follow their cancer treatment. With nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today, GWCI plays a leading role in improving survivorship care in the D.C. community and nationally. Seventy-five percent of funds raised through the Global Race for the Cure support national capital area programs like the citywide survivorship initiative at GWCI.
"Cancer survivorship continues to garner increased attention from patients and providers with the new Commission on Cancer survivorship care planning standard issued last year," said Mandi Pratt-Chapman, associate director of GWCI Community Programs. "Through Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the GW Cancer Institute is building the capacity of other cancer centers to improve post-treatment care for breast cancer survivors and helping survivors manage their wellness on their own terms through our novel self-management program. We have provided direct service to nearly 1,000 breast cancer patients last year with Komen's support."
"Our partnership with GWCI allows us to serve the most vulnerable women in the region with programs that give them a fighting chance for a good quality of life and recovery from this disease," said Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "GW's work is well known and widely respected as a model for delivering quality care to women who otherwise might be forced by economic or other circumstances to go without even rudimentary care."
As the first and most comprehensive survivorship program in D.C., GWCI has trained and educated a variety area health care providers on caring for breast cancer survivors; expanded efforts, in partnership with the GW Medical Faculty Associates, to support patients in treatment and post-treatment through patient navigation, transportation and appointment assistance, nutrition support, and the Thriving After Cancer survivorship clinic; and empowered breast cancer survivors to optimize their wellness through community education programs.
Next Steps to Wellness, a cancer survivorship education class organized by GWCI, provides breast cancer survivors with information on late and long-term effects of cancer and cancer treatments, strategies for coping with the emotional effects of cancer, and resources for goal setting. Through this grant, GWCI has partnered with Nueva Vida, a community organization supporting Latinas with cancer, to adapt the program to provide this essential information to the Latina community.
"When Latina women don't speak the language and don't understand cancer clinical terminology, they are filled with a lot of myths, anxiety and depression," said Claudia Campos, survivorship program director at Nueva Vida. "Evidence-based knowledge about cancer treatment, recovery and survivorship can make them feel like they have been given a second chance at life".
Jessica, a Latina cancer survivor, is one such woman who has benefited from these classes. "Sometimes you have to go through things and not around them," said Jessica. "When you receive a diagnosis for breast cancer, you may feel lost, but you can learn how to successfully handle the side effects of treatment and live a healthy life after cancer diagnosis."
GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences