Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Battling Breast Cancer in the Bronx

Program Helps Survivors

By Alyson Moadel-Robblee, Ph.D., director, Psychosocial Oncology, Albert Einstein Cancer Center and Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care

BRONX- My mother was an amazing woman. She was strong and passionate. My world was rocked, however, when at just 33 years-old, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As a young girl, just seven, I watched her go through chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. After an 8-year period of remission, the cancer returned. My older siblings were in the navy, and at age 15, I became my mom’s primary caretaker.
I was fortunate that where we lived, outside New Haven, CT, there was an amazing cancer support program that let us know that we were not alone. This formative experience of my mother’s loss and example that she set for me, led me to Albert Einstein Cancer Center and Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care. Here, I serve as the director of Psychosocial Oncology. It is also where I found my calling, the creation of the Bronx Oncology Living Daily (BOLD Living) Program.

Now in its 10th year, BOLD has a full calendar each month of mind-body workshops, fitness/nutrition offerings, and peer support. 

Evolving each year, our goal is to meet the specific needs of people affected by cancer in the Bronx. Free activities for patients and their loved ones include everything from yoga, crochet, scrapbooking, a drum circle, Reiki healing, meditation, and more. There is also weekly counseling and support groups.

Additionally, we’re privileged to have amazing volunteers who participate in navigation initiatives like the BOLD buddy program which provide peer support for cancer survivors. In the last year, we also introduced BOLD Brother/Sister peer mentors, who are teens and young adults who have cared for a parent with cancer.

With great pride, we have so many programs to support our patients and their families. As we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m thrilled to have such an amazing platform to raise awareness of these types of programs, which are free for our community.

Support is available by going to http://www.einstein.yu.edu/centers/cancer/support/fundraiser/. Here you can learn about events and programs taking place. 

One event that we are particularly excited about is our BOLD Beauty Day, which is coming up on Thursday, October 18. From 1 pm - 3:30 pm, all cancer patients are welcome to enjoy an afternoon dedicated to beauty and relaxation, including arts & crafts, henna, hair, & make-up. Giveaways and food will be served.

The event will take place at 1521 Jarrett Place, 2nd Floor Conference Rooms.

To register, please call (718) 430-2380 or email cancersupport@einstein.yu.edu

Breast cancer rates have increased in both the Bronx and NYC. This year, there will be an estimated almost 300,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer. 

While early detection and treatment is of the upmost important, we need to also remember that it is vital to care for the mind and spirit, in addition to traditional medical needs. 

This October, use the reminder of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to get educated about all of the local options that are available to you. We also encourage patients to be their health advocates, but this does not mean they need to be doing this alone.

We’re here and look forward to learning more about how we can support you!