There's free counseling available for Las Vegas breast cancer patients. It can have a remarkable healing effect.
At the Center for Compassionate Care, a $45,000 grant provides free counseling to any breast cancer patient. Therapist Cynthia Drew explained that many patients have a delayed reaction to cancer.
"Most people say, ‘Me? This can't be happening to me.' There's shock, then they muster for the treatment and the surgery and they just rally for the treatment and the surgery and they're strong getting through that and then the emotions hit," she said.
Drew says patients wonder about everything, from changes to the body to family relations. It can be a real relief to share those thoughts and fears. "Most people really are ready to talk. Again, they feel that they're stressing their families by what they're going through, so it's just nice to have somebody who doesn't know anything about them who's just ready to receive whatever's coming forth," she said.
A language barrier can be an added challenge, and the Compassionate Care Center also has a counselor who speaks Spanish and reaches out to that community.
There's evidence to show that counseling can even extend the lives of breast cancer patients. A study at Ohio State University followed 227 breast cancer patients for 11 years and found that those who received counseling lived longer than others.
Some medical providers say they often deal with Hispanic patients who are afraid to seek medical care. It's hoped the opening of a new medical clinic will change that.