A cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience.
Would you like to talk to someone with your cancer type?
If you are newly diagnosed with any gynecologic cancer or currently in treatment, you can request a mentor – someone who can be with you through the duration of the diagnosis, treatment and recovery. When, where, and how a connection is made is up to you. It can be at a local coffee shop, treatment facility or wherever is most convenient and comfortable. Some women may want their mentor to accompany them to chemotherapy sessions. While face-to-face interaction is recommended, you can also talk on the phone or exchange emails. The program is flexible and based on your needs and preferences.
The Woman to Woman program is a peer-to-peer support program that pairs newly diagnosed gynecologic cancer patients or patients currently in treatment with trained survivor volunteers who provide hope, support, understanding and encouragement from someone who has “been there.” Talking with a survivor who understands the roller coaster range of emotions and who can help navigate the medical maze is an invaluable resource.
Complete an application to request a match with a trained Woman to Woman survivor volunteer or contact Woman to Woman Program Coordinator, Sherry Martin, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I wish I’d had someone to talk with when I was first diagnosed.”
After your diagnosis and treatment, have you felt a desire to give back?
As a survivor, you know what it’s like to hear the words, “You have cancer.” You likely remember the very date you heard those words. You may have felt scared, anxious, or overwhelmed. You may have had family and friends supporting you but didn’t want to burden them with your fears. Or you may have had limited support and likely may not have known anyone else with a similar diagnosis. In any case, many survivors have said they wished they’d had another woman they could talk with; ask questions, and gain insight and perspective from someone “who has been through this.”
If you’ve had a gynecologic cancer diagnosis and are one year post-treatment, consider becoming survivor volunteer. You will meet one-on-one with the patients with whom you are matched, and you will listen, discuss concerns, provide support, and sometimes, just hold a hand. You are matched to new patients based on cancer type, age, language, cultural background, patient preferences, as well as other relevant factors. You will have the option to accept or decline a match depending on your availability. Group training for the Woman to Woman peer support program will be held periodically or individually, as needed.
In addition, as a survivor volunteer, you have the opportunity to participate in the Survivor Network, a monthly meeting where you can connect with other trained survivors, learn about community resources and self-care and coping strategies for your personal use as well as being able to teach those strategies to your patient matches. Complete an application to be a trained survivor volunteer or contact Woman to Woman Program Coordinator, Sherry Martin, for more information: email@example.com.
To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
About Woman to Woman
The Woman to Woman program was founded in 2004 at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City by an ovarian cancer survivor, Valerie Goldfein, in collaboration with the Mount Sinai Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and the Mount Sinai Department of Social Work. Valerie’s goal in starting the program was to alleviate some of the fear and loneliness she experienced at the time of her diagnosis with ovarian cancer. Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) was a long-time supporter of Woman to Woman at Mt. Sinai, and, recognizing a significant need for greater support for women with gynecologic cancers and their families, OCR A launched a national expansion of the Woman to Woman program in 2011.
Women in Colorado with any gynecologic cancer now have the opportunity for peer support due to the Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society being a recipient of a Woman to Woman community grant to in 2018.