Breast Cancer Survivors Say, “What Can I Do?”

Karen Collins, RD, the keynote speaker at the 14th Annual Breast Cancer Update, highlighted the conference in her American Institute for Cancer Research blog post this week.

“I just got back from Delaware where I gave the keynote at the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Annual Breast Cancer Update, a conference attended by cancer survivors, health care professionals and others interested in breast cancer prevention.  With so many ideas out there on how to make a positive difference for survivors – from dietary changes and exercise to supplements – it’s hard to know which steps are most likely to help (and which can possibly cause harm).

One of the physicians participating in a panel discussion noted that we need to look at both “the seeds and the soil”.  That is, look at treatments that target any remaining cells that could be “seeds” for cancer recurrence, and also focus on how we can create “soil” – meaning an environment within our body – that does not support cancer cell growth.

Although weight gain and decreases in physical activity are common among breast cancer survivors, part of my presentation at the conference included studies showing that efforts to stop the gain and find ways to work in physical activity daily seem to deserve spots high on the priority list.
Moderate physical activity alone, without changes in diet, usually leads to only modest and slow weight loss. Conference participants were buzzing when they saw data showing that physical activity seems to have important protective effects quite soon, even without weight loss.”

Read the rest of the post here: Breast Cancer Survivors Say, “What Can I Do?”

You can read more of Karen’s blog and posts from other AICR folks at or follow Karen on Twitter @KarenCollinsRD.

DBCC receives Executive Director’s Recognition Award from Delaware Academy of Medicine

DBCC has been awarded the Delaware Academy of Medicine’s Executive Director’s Recognition.  This award honors a nonprofit in our community that embodies the principles of education and the promotion of public health through collaborative programming.  The award was presented to DBCC staff and board members on Friday, March 18 at the Delaware Academy of Medicine’s 81st Annual Meeting at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.  Last year the Executive Director’s Recognition was awarded to the Heart Truth Delaware Program.

DBCC Executive Director Vicky Cooke, DBCC Trustee Emeritae Maureen Lauterbach, DBCC Board Member Dennis R. Witmer, MD, FACS, and DBCC Director of Information Services Vicky Tosh-Morelli received the award that was presented by Delaware Academy of Medicine Executive Director Tim Gibbs.

DBCC staff and board members with the award

DBCC has developed and implemented unique programs not available from other cancer-related agencies, including targeted programs for young women with breast cancer, African American women, Latinas, women who partner with women, and women with disabilities.  DBCC strives to improve access for all women and men to high-quality breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment as well as increase awareness of breast cancer and the influence of breast cancer survivors in research, clinical trials, and national policies.

DBCC serves all who live and work in Delaware with approximately 15,000 annual educational contacts, 250 volunteers and over 850 referrals for free or low-cost cancer screenings through our various programs and activities.  DBCC offers the Peer Mentor Support program which provides those newly diagnosed with one-on-one support for a trained breast cancer survivor.  DBCC also provides monthly “Beginning Your Breast Cancer Journey” classes at the four local cancer centers.  DBCC partners with Delaware’s Division of Public Health and Beebe Medical Center to operate the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van which provides screening mammograms to underserved communities.

For more information about DBCC’s programs and services, please visit DBCC’s website or call 866-312-DBCC (3222).

DBCC expands Peer Mentor Support Program to Maryland’s Cecil County

DBCC is pleased to announce that through a new partnership with Union Hospital, the Peer Mentor Support Program has been expanded into Cecil County, Maryland.  Union Hospital, which is located in Elkton, MD, invited volunteers to sign-up for the Peer Mentor training. The training was held on Tuesday, March 15 and trained 5 new peer mentors.  DBCC Board Member Nanci Mayer-Mihalski and DBCC Program Director Cathy Holloway facilitated the four-hour training with the help of Beth Money, Union Hospital Research Coordinator.

Union Hospital Peer Mentor Training Participants

“The training made the survivors and staff very excited to help others,” said Beth Money, RN, BSN, OCN.  Debra Jarrell, RN, from Community Hospice served a fantastic dinner to thank all of the survivors who participated in the Peer Mentor training.

These newly trained peer mentors will be available to provide one-on-one support to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer who live in the Cecil County area and those being treated at Union Hospital. A second Peer Mentor training will be held at Union Hospital on September 13, 2011. For a complete listing of Peer Mentor trainings held throughout the state, please click here.
DBCC’s Peer Mentor Support Program is a state-wide program that matches newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with trained breast cancer survivors who had a similar experience and journey.  For more information about the Peer Mentor Support Program, please click here.

Photo courtesy of Beth Money of Union Hospital.

DBCC reaches out to the Latina community

DBCC Staff and Volunteers at VIDA!

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is committed to sharing information about breast cancer treatment, prevention, survivorship and education to every community in Delaware.  Recently, DBCC has focused on engaging the Latina community in western Sussex County to share the message of breast health.  On Saturday, March 19, DBCC hosted VIDA!, a Latina Breast Health Forum held at the Georgetown Fire Hall that attracted over 250 members of the Latina community.  This free, bilingual event educated participants about breast cancer screenings, treatment and survivorship. VIDA! was funded in part by a grant from the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Participants heard from Dr. Francisco Rodriguez of Atlantic Surgical Associates who dispelled some of the most common myths about breast cancer, and from Yolanda Alvarez and Elsa Rodriguez-Trejo, both breast cancer survivors, who spoke about their own personal journeys with breast cancer and their survivorship.

VIDA! participants at the Georgetown Fire Hall

The Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) Van was on-site and provided screening mammograms.  Participants were also able to have clinical breast exams along with free cholesterol, skin cancer, diabetes and blood pressure screenings provided by Beebe Medical Center.

Jonathan and Diana of Maxima Radio with Stephanie and Ana of Que Bien

The event was well attended by members of the media. Two Spanish radio stations, La Exitosa 930 AM and Maxima 900 AM, broadcasted live from the event.  WBOC and WMDT television stations filmed and aired the segment on the 11 pm news.  Que Bien also filmed for its online and cable television show.  Click here to watch the Que Bien broadcast.  A Hoy en Delaware reporter was also at the event interviewing participants.

“Our first annual VIDA! event was a huge success,” said Cheryl Doucette, DBCC Program Manager in the Lewes Office.  “The involvement from the area hospitals and health related vendors was key in making this a worthwhile event for the Latina community.  Participants were able to gather useful and very important health related information.”
In addition to the VIDA! Latina Breast Health Forum, DBCC also has a volunteer training planned for April 12 that will be presented entirely in Spanish.  Entitled “Salud y Vida”, the training will be held on Tuesday, April 12 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Georgetown Fire Hall.  For more information, click here.

 “We need your help in sharing the important message of breast health to Latina women in Western Sussex County,” says Doucette.  “Please consider letting us show you on all the ways that you can help DBCC make a difference in the lives of your family and friends.”

To get involved with Latina outreach in Western Sussex County, please call Cheryl Doucette at 302-644-6844 or Sunny Villafañe at 302-672-6435.

Volunteer Spotlight: Merry Jones

Read a Q& A with DBCC Volunteer and Peer Mentor
Merry Jones of Dover
Merry Jones at a DBCC table at the Pink Heart Horse Show

How did you find out about DBCC?
Prior to my diagnosis, I read a wonderful human interest story in the Dover Post regarding Lois Wilkinson’s breast cancer journey and how that prompted her to eventually go to work for DBCC.   I never once considered the possibility that I might someday need DBCC’s support.  Once diagnosed with breast cancer, Lois’ name came up while I was networking with hospital personnel I knew and the rest is history.

What is your involvement with DBCC?

Really, pretty much anything I am able to do when a “call for help” comes out – from mailings, preparations for conferences, manning a table at health fairs, special fundraisers, as well as the major fundraisers like Bayhealth“Go Pink” Day and Southern Lights of Life.  I have gone through both the peer mentor and volunteer training, and have mentored one woman.  On the taking side, I thoroughly enjoy Nurture with Nature outings, and other social/educational programs offered by DBCC throughout the year. I have participated in the Rotary Walk, the Monster Mile Walk, and the DBCC DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K at the Tanger Outlets.

What made you decide to become a volunteer and peer mentor for DBCC?

Everyone I’ve met is so incredibly supportive and dedicated to DBCC’s mission. I wanted to give back, and hopefully, pay forward the help I was given.

What is a memorable moment you have had being a DBCC volunteer and/or peer mentor?

Two things come to mind.  When working in the office with other survivor volunteers and in listening to each others stories, comparing experiences, laughing, and yes, sometimes tearing, the realization is brought home that we truly understand, can and do support each other, and that there is a good life after breast cancer. 

On a not so happy note, I recall while manning an information table at the Milford Riverwalk Festival, how too many people passed by without interest, or purposefully looked away when they passed by, quite possibly in fear or denial of any need to know.  I probably would have been that person years ago.  Fear can be paralyzing; Knowledge, faith and hope are empowering.  That is why DBCC is such a needed and important organization.

What was your experience as a model in this year’s Southern Lights of Life?

Merry Jones modeling at 2011 SLOL

I was definitely out of my comfort zone.    I don’t wear makeup other than lipstick and seldom have ever “dressed up.”  Those who know my cancer story know that I hadn’t had my hair cut in 40+ years before donating 14 inches to Locks of Love, just prior to losing it.  I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and felt special.  Sharing the spotlight with my survivor friends was a most wonderful and memorable experience.

Anything else you would like to add about DBCC or yourself?

I’m a mother of three daughters and two step-daughters.  I am a retired speech pathologist.  I am co-program director, bowling and tennis coach for the Kent Crusaders, my daughter’s Special Olympics team in the Dover area, and I  serve on the board of directors of the Arc of Delaware, an organization that raises funds, advocates, and provides supports for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  I enjoy the outdoors, limited gardening, and traveling with friends and family.

Southern Lights of Life photo courtesy of Bev Michel Photography.

Medical News: How the Affordable Care Act will impact DBCC’s mission

Written by Chelsea Michael, DBCC Outreach & Education Coordinator

Wondering how the new health care changes will affect breast cancer survivors and breast health?  Read about coverage, mammograms, and more.

More affordable insurance options for breast cancer survivors and other individuals
The Affordable Care Act limits insurance discrimination based on health condition.  Insurance coverage cannot be canceled due to a new diagnosis of breast cancer or other illness, and, starting in 2014, coverage cannot be denied or made more expensive due to history of breast cancer or another condition.  In the mean time, Delawareans rejected from individual plans can get benefits comparable to what federal employees receive at prices healthy people would pay through the federal Pre-existing Condition Plan.  Click here for more information.  State Medicaid programs are also expanding to cover childless adults earning up to 133% of the poverty line. 
Full coverage for mammograms and other preventive services

Insurance, including federal plans, must cover the whole cost of regular mammograms (every 1-2 years) for women 40 and older.  Women on new plans (or non-grandfathered plans) no longer need to pay a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance for regular breast screening, as recommended by federal guidelines, as long as they go to in-network mammography providers.  Insurance companies must also pay the whole cost of other essential preventive health care services.  Click here to learn more.

Many insurance companies already cover the cost of mammography screening without a deductible or co-pay, check with your provider to see if your screening is already covered. DBCC wants to make sure that ability to pay is not a barrier to screening for women in Delaware. We can link you with free or low-cost screenings programs throughout the state. Call 1-888-672-9647 for more information.

Advocates helping survivors and other individuals understand insurance
Breast cancer survivors and other individuals can contact Consumer Assistance Programs (CAPs) to help them better understand insurance options.  CAPs can help individuals with complaints or appeals against insurance company decisions.  In Delaware, The Department of Insurance is partnering with two non-profit organizations, the Latin American Community Center and First State Community Center, to form a CAP supported by federal funding. Click here for more information.

More resources

Watch DBCC’s website for upcoming health care reform and policy content.  The National Breast Cancer Coalition Action Center reports on how the reform affects breast cancer survivors.  For general information about health care reform from an independent organization check out the Kaiser Health Reform Gateway

Color Yourself at Great Stuff

Written by Pam Hague of Great Stuff

Now is the time to come in and check out the beautiful, colorful jackets, pants and dresses that will certainly put you in the mood for spring!

Do you need a new pair of shoes and maybe a handbag to match?  Stop in anytime and the staff at Great Stuff can help you put together your “almost new” spring wardrobe.

In the meantime, we would love to offer some helpful tips as you are changing over your closets from winter to spring.  Remember that colors can spice up your wardrobe!

Remember the color wheel?

If you never took an art class you probably remember the color wheel.  The color wheel shows the relationships between colors considered to be primary, secondary and tertiary.
•    Primary colors are red, yellow and blue.
•    When you mix any two primary colors in equal measure, you obtain a secondary color.
•    A tertiary color is made by mixing one secondary with its adjacent primary color.

When talking about matching clothing colors there are two basic relationships:
•    Analogous colors are the ones sitting side-by-side on the color wheel and they usually work with one another. When matched the result is very nice as these colors are relatives and have little contrast. For example blue’s analogous colors are green and purple, while red and green are orange’s analogous colors. These colors work well in business attire.
•    Complementary colors are colors opposite to each other on the color wheel When matched they intensify each other and really make an outfit fun and playful.  For example, purple is complementary to yellow, blue to orange, red to green, etc.

How to match colors

First things first.  Black and white can be matched with any other color. Grey is considered neutral, and it also can be matched with any color.

Generally, it’s suggested not to wear more than three colors in the same outfit to maintain a coordinated look and avoid looking disheveled.   Always remember that “less is more” and don’t be afraid to use the color wheel if you’re in doubt!

 Some other helpful hints you can tuck away for future use are:
•    An outfit should have only one dominant color.
•    Use darker colors for the parts where you want to look thinner. (I think we all know this one!)
•    At least two items of your clothing should be the same color to pull your outfit together.
•    Brighter colors are better for the upper part of your body because they will light up your face.

Another very important thing to remember is to match the color of your clothes to your skin tone and hair color.  That’s another discussion though, but don’t worry because the excellent staff at Great Stuff would love to help you pick out the best colors and styles for you! We look forward to seeing you soon!

Photos of some spring fashions at Great Stuff 

Visit DBCC’s Great Stuff Savvy Resale today! Click here for the website and more information on donations, volunteering, photos, events and more!

“Like” Great Stuff on Facebook.

Color wheel photo courtesy of