Information, Support, Restorative Relaxation
❥ Sharsheret is a nonprofit organization created originally for young Jewish women with breast cancer, and now describes itself as “the Jewish breast and ovarian cancer community.” Sharsheret.org has information about testing, diagnosis, counseling and more—including programs and supports for family members. Check out their webinar “What’s Jewish about breast cancer” and blog posts on medicine, science, and personal journeys.
❥ On the Jewish Women’s Archive podcast “Can We Talk” (at jwa.org) you can listen to a conversation on breast cancer as a Jewish legacy.
❥ Most hospital-based cancer centers have strong psychosocial supports available to patients and families.
❥ Hadassah, the largest Jewish and largest women’s organization, is known for its advocacy on a whole range of health issues. They support research and several educational programs focusing on gynecological cancers, including “Celebrate the TaTas,” and an Uplift project featuring—yes—decorated bras. More at Hadassah.org.
❥ Local in-person programs for women living with cancer are now on offer in many locales. For example, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and Breastlink New York jointly offer a health and wellness program which includes lectures and restorative yoga. Plus, an annual complimentary spa day (kosher lunch and all) welcomes cancer survivors, underwritten in part by Meredith Berkman in memory of her mother. Similar JCC cancer programs exist in communities as disparate as Asheville NC, Palo Alto CA, Scotch Plains NJ, Cincinnati OH and Syracuse NY. Check your local Jewish Community Center to discover specialized programs near you.
❥ Our genes don’t tell the whole story. Not ever woman who gets cancer carries a genetic mutation, so your genetic makeup isn’t the only predictor. You already know the importance of early diagnosis. The U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts has useful guidelines about screening for breast and cervical cancers.