Breast Cancer Patients Receive Ongoing Support with 'Journey to Wellness' Program

Los Angeles - Oct. 30, 2013 – Donna Sweikow always had thought of herself as an optimist. But a 2013 diagnosis of breast cancer shook her to the core, challenging her consistent and sunny outlook on life.      

Recognizing the fear and doubt that troubled Sweikow as she battled breast cancer, her medical team at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute suggested she participate in a new program, “Journey to Wellness,” designed to educate patients about how to bring optimism back into their lives.  

“I was somewhat drowning after my diagnosis with questions, fear and doubt,” said Sweikow. “This program helped me change my perspective on living with breast cancer. I am so fortunate that my medical team was receptive to my needs and directed me to so many resources that have since given me direction and new hope.”

The “Journey to Wellness” program was designed for women who have completed or are undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The program brings together a team of clinicians to address physical, emotional and psychological concerns that can result from diagnosis or treatment. The program also gives patients access to a nutritionist, a physical therapist, an acupuncturist, a psychosocial counselor and a nurse practitioner. Guided meditation is also available to reduce patients’ stress.  

“Often at the end of cancer treatment you're exhausted, and it can take a long time get back your strength,” said Sherry Goldman, RN, a nurse practitioner in the Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center – A Project of Women's Guild in the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and founder of the multidisciplinary program. “You think, ‘Now what?’ And that's what we are addressing in “Journey to Wellness.” We look at the whole person; we want to capture every area that has been affected by not just the cancer, but also the treatment.”

For patients, the one-afternoon seminar opens many doors, from relationships with other cancer survivors to opportunities for referrals to continue working on issues such as nutrition, physical therapy and stress reduction.

Sweikow found great value in the wealth of information the program provided, from experts on nutrition and meditation to material about heart problems and financial difficulties that cancer patients might experience.

“Though I am in the middle of my journey with breast cancer and still have many treatments ahead of me, I feel prepared to tackle it with hope, knowledge and guidance because of this program.”

Fall and winter classes are being formed. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are interested in becoming part of the “Journey to Wellness” program, please call the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at 310-423-8030.