COVID-19 TIPS FOR BREAST CANCER PATIENTS AND KOMEN’S CALIFORNIA RESPONSE FUND

Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County takes the health and safety of breast cancer patients and its supporters, volunteers and staff very seriously. Late Night Health has been a long-time proud in-kind radio sponsor of Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County.

Mark Alyn speaks with Mark Pilon, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County, about the special needs of breast cancer patients and survivors who are more at risk during the pandemic than the general population.

Self-distancing, hand washing and avoiding crowds are all important measures breast cancer patients should take to minimize risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. But equally important is taking care of one’s mental and emotional health during this time.

Social support is so important for people with breast cancer. Things such as a video call with a friend or family member or swapping emails with your support group can help minimize anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue and feelings of being alone. Remaining in touch with the people around you will help keep you feel connected, even if there are physical limitations in place.

Patients should also think in advance about getting medication, food and other necessities, so they don’t have to go out and come into contact with crowds. Meal delivery services, refills by mail and friends who can drop off items are all ways to minimize contact. If these aren’t an option, patients can think about going out when crowds are smaller – such as first thing in the morning.

Mark was also instrumental in forming the California Response Fund, a coalition of the

six “sister” Komen affiliates in California, created to respond to the additional needs for services during this pandemic. Those sister affiliates include Susan G. Komen Inland Empire, Susan G. Komen Northern and Central California, Susan G. Komen Orange County, Susan G. Komen, San Diego, and Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay Area and they have created the California Response Fund, https://komenlacounty.org/covid19. The Fund will enable the affiliates to support breast cancer patients and survivors who have been impacted by the economic turndown caused by COVID-19 and help them overcome new crisis-related barriers to support services and care, https://komenlacounty.org/covid19responsefund.

Project Angel Food and Lyft are two of Komen’s partners in the Komen California Response Fund’s efforts.

Yva Dominguez is a recipient of nutritious meals from Project Angel Food and currently in treatment for breast cancer. She says “I am so grateful for the nutritious meals I receive from Project Angel Food. As the mother of two, in treatment, with no one to help me, my diet has now improved. Susan G. Komen really made a difference.”

And the Susan G. Komen Breast Care Helpline is open and taking calls and responding to emails from patients and their loved ones needing support. The trained staff are providing tips and coping strategies for managing emotions and concerns. The Helpline can be reached by phone at 1-877-GO-KOMEN or by email at helpline@komen.org.

While times may be uncertain, Susan G. Komen is committed to supporting and helping patients every day. They are here for you, they care about you, they are here to support you.

Tips include:

To avoid being exposed to coronavirus, the CDC recommends everyone:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, before touching your face and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Ask people who come to your home to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they arrive.

If  you have breast cancer, is there anything else you should do?

  • Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying conditions – like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example – seem to be at higher risk for developing serious COVID-19 illness.
  • Breast cancer patients are among those who are at high risk of serious illness because their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and its treatments – particularly chemotherapy.

About Susan G. Komen® and Komen Los Angeles County

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Komen Los Angeles County is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community. Through events like the MORE THAN PINK Walk™ Komen Los Angeles County has invested $10,535,590 in community breast health programs in Los Angeles County and has helped contribute to the more than $920 million invested globally in researchFor more information, call 310.575.3011 or visit http://komenlacounty.org.

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