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Support groups gather to help breast cancer survivors

June is National Cancer Survivor Month

ROANOKE, Va. – Breast cancer survivors will often tell you the day of the initial diagnosis is hardest. It's one reason providers are working to offer opportunities to take part in support groups in addition to their treatment.

LewisGale Medical Center oncology nurse navigator Laurie Lester and a group of survivors recently started a breast cancer support group to help.

"That initial diagnosis of breast cancer is always the hardest," Lester said. "It pretty much broadsides a woman."

The group gives women a place where they can talk about whatever topics come to mind, whether they are newly diagnosed or finishing their treatment.

"They have their own input and their own support and their own story to share with all of these ladies," Lester said.

LewisGale's Breast Cancer Support Group meets from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the LewisGale Breast Center in Salem. Meetings are held in Medical Office Building East, on the third floor.

Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge, which is known for its annual Race for the Cure and other events to combat breast cancer, is keeping the conversations going beyond those events with Komen Conversations.

"Breast cancer doesn't just happen one time of year. It's bringing people together to continue that conversation and to learn something about breast cancer all year long because it really does impact breast cancer survivors every day," said Samara Lott.

Komen Conversations are held quarterly and focus on a range of topics.

"It gives them a chance to meet people who may have gone through similar things but then also to maybe learn something new as well as have fun while they're doing it," Lott said.

LewisGale's next meeting is scheduled for June 15. For more information, call 540-776-4813.

The next Komen Conversations will be held July 12 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 540-400-8222.