Finding the right support group is great medicine.
Khevin Barnes is a Male Breast Cancer survivor, magician and speaker. He is currently writing, composing and producing a comedy stage musical about Male Breast Cancer Awareness. He travels wherever he is invited to speak to (and do a little magic for) men and women about breast cancer. www.BreastCancerSpeaker.com www.MaleBreastCancerSurvivor.com
History has shown that one person can change the world. It doesn’t happen often, but when civilization takes a quantum leap as a result of revolutionary thinking, there is a shift in collective consciousness that propels us forward in unimaginable ways.
And when multitudes of us join together in a universal cause, the energy created is both tangible and life-shifting. Such is the power of unity.
Cancer has created a need in our world for compassionate comradery. It’s a very human characteristic, this willingness to aid our fellow men and women, and it’s a tribute to our species and our planet with all of the terrorism and savagery we see around us these days that we steadfastly refuse to give up on one another. We come to the aid of those in need, and in doing so enrich our evolutionary journey.
As a man diagnosed with breast cancer just 24 months ago, I began to search for others like me. As fate would have it, there aren’t too many of us since male breast cancer
represents less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases. But I felt certain that if I looked around this big world by way of the Internet, I would likely find the help, information and hope I was looking for. Surely, I thought, there must be a brotherhood of male breast cancer survivors willing to collaborate and connect with me and others like me to manage and conquer our cancer.
Enter the Male Breast Cancer Coalition.
Through a simple phone conversation, I was suddenly connected to a group of positive thinkers who are intent on supporting every man with this unusual and often overlooked disease.
They are a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization bringing men with breast cancer, their families, spouses, partners and friends together with the purpose of building awareness through the experiences of fellow survivors.
Their mission reaches far beyond men with breast cancer, however, as they endeavor to educate everyone, including the medical community, concerning the need for more testing and clinical trials focusing on men.
Bret Miller of Kansas City is the inspiration behind the coalition. He was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24. After his mastectomy in 2010, Bret promised his surgeon that no man would ever feel alone when hearing the words, “You have breast cancer.” True to his word, and with the assistance of Cheri Ambrose, Lori Berlin and his mother and father, Peggy and Bob Miller, the coalition took flight and embraced and offered their services to every man they could find.
Reaching out through social media, they have been successful in sharing the stories from male breast cancer survivors all over the world. Bret visits schools, conferences and special events to share his own inspirational story.
Support groups offer an opportunity for all cancer survivors to share experiences and exchange information. They are also a possible source of emotional support and therefore can contribute to quality of life of patients with cancer.
Cancer support is an integral part to treating the whole patient. Probably the biggest advantage of support groups is in helping us to realize that we are not alone -- that there are other people who have the same problems.
Research shows social support has measurable benefits for breast cancer survivors, and whether its informal support from family and friends, or more formal support from group or individual therapy, social connections can improve your quality of life.
In my own case, I can enthusiastically report that the “spin cycle” in which my life had been operating in those first few post-surgery months has slowed considerably. I attribute this in no small way to the interaction and dialogue I continue to have with my support group—The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.
You can find more information about them at: www.malebreastcancercoalition.org