4 Ways to Support a Loved One with Breast Cancer

October 02, 2018

We want to do everything we can to be there for loved ones, especially during a challenging time like battling breast cancer. They’ll need emotional support while experiencing possible side effects from treatment along with feelings of hopelessness, anger, and fear throughout this process. 

The good news is that they have you to help them during this time. Here are 4 ways you can support them through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery:

1. Listen
2 women on couch

Your loved one may be overwhelmed with emotions. This is their diagnosis and their journey – what you can do is provide a safe space so they can talk freely about it. 

They may not always feel comfortable enough to share their feelings and may avoid the topic. “Listen” to their body language and behavior: they may be asking for more help or some space. Either way, let them know they are not alone.

2. Help Them Feel Good
women getting a facial

Reassure your loved one they are worthy of a good time. Take them out for a manicure, go for a soothing massage, dine at their favorite restaurant, go to a concert, or join a dance class if they’re up for it. You can even stay indoors and have a cooking party, host a spa day at home, or watch a comedy. 

Make it an open-ended invite, so they can pick the best time for them. Help them feel normal while you encourage them to maintain a positive outlook. 

3. Be a Helping Hand
holding hands

Step on up! Your loved one will probably appreciate a little help with their day-to-day duties. Offer to take care of the common errands on their to-do list like buying groceries, helping clean their house, or picking up their prescriptions.

Even during the best of times, taking care of a family can be a lot of work! Offer to help with their children: helping out with homework or taking them to their sports practices.

It’s hard for people to accept help from others, especially when it comes to taking care of their family. Let them know they don’t have to face this alone and its okay to accept help. That’s what friends are for!

4. Gather a Support Team
group of friends

A team full of love and support is the ultimate gift. Build the greatest support team of family, friends, and even coworkers! Everyone can work together to help make meals, take turns visiting, or drive them to appointments. 

Learn more about breast cancer to understand a little bit more about what your friend or loved one is going through. You have the power to make a difference. Let them know they are loved and appreciated just by being themselves. 


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Mental Health: Seek Help, Be the Help

July 23, 2018

Mental health and suicide have been topics of interest in the media due to the recent loss of several high-profile celebrities. At AltaMed, we are here to help so that mental health issues can be treated and do not lead to suicide. Although it may be hard, you can always ask for help and be of support to others.

Here is how you can take action:

people hugging

Seek Help
Seek professional help if you ever feel helpless or alone in your feelings. If you feel like you need to talk, open up to friends or family who you trust. If you feel like you need professional help, you can safely reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline anonymously. Once you open up and acknowledge the underlying issue, you’ll be able to move forward and work on treating it. 

two male friends

Be the Help
Be there for those around you and look for warning signs. Speak with dignity and respect when discussing mental illness to create a safe space for others to open up without judgment. Be a positive influence on others and empower them. Encourage others to reach out to the resources listed below to get them the help they need. 

track running

A Fresh Start
Every day is an opportunity to start fresh. Work on putting yourself first by doing things that make you feel good from the inside. You can go for a walk, dance to your favorite music, spend time volunteering and helping others, or hang out with friends or family. 

If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, reach out to our Behavior Health team at (855) 425-1777. Our licensed clinical social workers are trained to help you cope when life gets stressful.

If you are in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide prevention hotline today at (800) 273-TALK (8255)

Grow Pink: All You Need to Know About Breast Cancer

October 02, 2018

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the United States, and it’s the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women. Here’s what you need to know so you can identify the symptoms and reduce your risks.

What Is Breast Cancer?
woman and dr looking xrays

It all starts when abnormal breast cells grow into a tumor. Once a mass is detected through a mammogram, a test called a biopsy is performed to tell if the mass is cancerous or benign (not cancerous). 

If the mass is benign, you’re out of the danger zone. If the cells are cancerous, they can spread to other parts of the body. Your doctors will help you make the best decisions for your treatment so you can start as soon as possible.

What Are the Risk Factors?
mom and daughter hugging on couch

Your lifestyle, along with many other factors, can increase your risk of breast cancer:

  • Getting older
  • Not having children, or having your first child later in life
  • Starting your first menstrual period at an early age
  • Beginning menopause at a late age
  • Personal history of breast cancer or certain benign breast diseases
  • Having close family relatives who have had breast cancer
  • Being overweight, particularly after menopause
  • Using hormone replacement therapy for a long time
  • Using oral contraceptives
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a genetic condition, such as certain mutations in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes 
  • Having been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest

What Are the Symptoms?
woman doing self home exam


In the early stages, the tumor may be too small to feel and does not cause any symptoms. As it grows, you may experience some of these symptoms: 

  • A new lump in the breast or a lump that has changed
  •  A change in the shape or size of the breast
  • Pain in the nipple or breast that doesn’t go away
  • Swollen, red, or flaky skin on the breast
  • Nipple becomes tender or turns inward
  • Nipple leaks blood or non-milk fluiid

Talk to your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. 

When and How to Get Tested

According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), most women should start routine screenings for breast cancer at the age of 50. The screening is done with a mammogram, which takes X-ray images of the breast. It is the best and most reliable way to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before symptoms occur. 

If your mammogram comes back abnormal or your doctor says that more tests are needed, it’s not always bad news. Your doctor can request additional tests for more insight.

Catching it early is important – treatment is most helpful in the beginning stages. There is an estimated 27% survival rate if breast cancer is caught in the late stages. On the other hand, if cancer is caught in early stages, women have 99% survival rate. So, get tested regularly to give yourself the best chance to stay healthy!

Take Action
smart watch

Just like any other illness, you can help minimize your risk for breast cancer by adopting a healthy lifestyle. 

  • Get tested today: schedule your mammogram with us
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink water regularly
  • Eat fresh and nutritious foods 
  • Keep stress levels as low as possible

At AltaMed, we want to ensure that our patients have the proper care and education to take charge of their health. For the month of October, we will be offering free AltaMed gift bags to women who complete their mammograms at one of our locations. To learn more or schedule a mammogram today, please call (888) 499-9303

Grow Pink this October and all year long!