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New Program Offers Breast Cancer Patients "A Time to Heal"

Classes and Support Groups

HANFORD – Breast cancer changes a person’s life. Many people lose hair, friends, one or both breasts and their sense of well-being.

“There’s no transition, no rehab, no guidance in how to live again,” says Laurie Schirling, registered nurse and certified nurse navigator at the Adventist Health / Breast Care Center.

To help patients make that tough transition back into the world, the center will begin offering a free 12-week program on Sept. 22 called “A Time to Heal.” Participants will meet in the Adventist Medical Center - Hanford Conference Center for a light dinner, exercise and talk. Speakers have also been invited to share information about nutrition, massage and other topics.

“This is something we’ve needed really badly,” says Linda Hatfield, American Cancer Society volunteer. Hatfield has spent more than 30 years educating breast cancer survivors about the organization’s outreach programs at the Sequoia Regional Cancer Center, but was recently diagnosed with breast cancer herself. She learned in February 2014 that she had Stage 1 cancer. “As a patient, you’re bombarded with all of these doctor’s visits and when you finish treatment, you have to pick back up. Everybody thinks everything is back to normal, but it’s not back to normal for you,” she says.

Hatfield is looking forward to attending the 12-week program because she says it’s unique and will teach her something new every time.

The Hanford Breast Care Center is the first in California to offer the program, which supports University of Nebraska research. Schirling and Julce Belo from the Breast Care Center became certified to lead the program after receiving training at the university. The program is free to participants, but they’re asked to take surveys before and after the program, and six months after completion.