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'A sister feel of support'
NMC offers breast cancer support
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Women diagnosed with breast cancer are in for a difficult battle, but a group of dedicated staff and volunteers at Newton Medical Center ensure that those women aren’t alone.

While October refocuses society’s attention during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Newton Medical Center has resources available all year long to help women who are fighting breast cancer and those who have won the war but face the challenge of regaining their identity.

Breast Cancer Support Group

Newton Medical’s Breast Cancer Support Group meets the last Monday of every month at 12:30 p.m. for a luncheon in the Physician’s Pavilion (located to the right as you pull into the main entrance off U.S. Highway 278).

Each attendee brings a dish to share with the group, and the meeting will usually have a guest speaker, often with a health focus, though some speakers will discuss fashion or other topics to give the women a break from focusing on their bodies and health, said Shona Fincher, supervisor over the Women’s Diagnostic Center.

Fincher said past speakers have included health-care providers, cosmetologists, nutritionists, dentists and gift-shop employees who brought scarves, clothes and purses.

Kay Goff, who facilities the support group and is a breast cancer survivor herself, said when there are new attendees, the group will often have a day for the women to just talk and get to know each other.

"Sometimes we’ll just have a girlfriend day and just chat, especially if we have more than one new patient," Goff said. "We like for them to get a sister feel of support.

"We concentrate on the education process and the fact they’re not alone in this battle; they need to know many other women have been through this, and that they’re willing to walk them through it."

The next meeting of the support group will be Oct. 28 in the basement of the Physician’s Pavilion.

Look Good, Feel Better

"Society defines women by their hair and breasts, and all of a sudden they don’t have either one. They can lose their identify for awhile, so we make sure they understand this is temporary, and we try to make the best of it," Goff said.

The Look Good Feel Better program meets four times a year: in January, April, July and October. Through the program, supported by the American Cancer Society, volunteer cosmetologists will bring bags of makeup from various vendors and show cancer patients how to apply makeup while going through chemotherapy.

"This is for women who have lost their eyebrows and eyelashes, and radiation and chemo do a number on your skin," Goff said.

"(Patients) come into meetings wearing a big shirt so we can’t see they had surgery and they don’t have any hair, and they go out ready to strut their stuff; they feel so much better."

Goff said makeup companies from all over the country donate their products to the cause, and she said there is actually a local distribution center on Parker Road in Conyers. Patients get to keep the makeup and lotion kits.

The next program is Monday at 10 a.m. in the basement of the Physicians Pavilion.

For more information, call Fincher at 770-385-7820.