You Are Not Alone: Breast Cancer Awareness Month Panel Provides Support for Bay Area Women

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer often experience a rollercoaster of emotions from the time they learn of their diagnosis, as well as during and after treatment. Throughout these difficult times, it is important to remind women that they are not alone. In underserved communities where access to affordable health care is often out of reach, this is especially important. Recently, an event hosted by Congresswoman Jackie Speier was held at the City College of San Francisco as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A panel of experts came together to discuss the emotional and mental health needs of women with breast cancer and the support groups, health care services and community resources available to them.

Amie Lee, MD, an assistant professor in the Breast Imaging section at the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology Biomedical Imaging, was one of the invited speakers at this event. She provides services at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFGH) Avon Breast Imaging Center, where she serves as the Director of Clinical Operations. Dr. Lee spoke about socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer care, the importance of accessibility of breast imaging, and also provided information about the Avon Comprehensive Breast Care Program.

The Avon Breast Imaging Center provides state-of-the-art breast imaging, diagnostic evaluation and patient education at ZSFGH. Their extensive network of culturally diverse patient navigators works to assist underserved men and women in San Francisco County through their journey of cancer care from screening to treatment. Their mobile mammography outreach “MammoVan” takes breast cancer screening on the road to community clinics. With the mobile van, they bring the imaging center to the patient and work to break down the barriers of health insurance, transportation, access, and language fluency for the underserved populations of San Francisco county. 

Other speakers at the event included Ali Kent, a breast cancer survivor and board member of Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS);  Sasha Merritt, a Bay Area tattoo artist specializing in reconstructive work; Christy Oliger, senior vice president of BioOncology at Genentech and Dianne Shumay, PhD, a clinical health psychologist and director of the Psycho-Oncology Psychology Service at UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. This department works closely with cancer center patients, survivors and their loved ones to help identify and address challenges with adjusting to illness.

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