Did you know Concord residents have a higher risk of breast cancer than the California average, according to a 2012 statewide breast cancer mapping project? Certain central Contra Costa County cities — including Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Martinez and Lamorinda — have been identified as “areas of concern” because of the prevalence of breast cancer compared to rates statewide. Concord also had the highest number of deaths in Contra Costa County and an above-average breast cancer death rate.
According to information from the Contra Costa County Health Department, the highest breast cancer death rate is in Concord, where between 2005-2007 (the latest figures available), there were 49 deaths, 11.8 percent of the 415 total countywide breast cancer fatalities during that period. The second highest was Walnut Creek, with a total of 47 deaths, or 11.3 percent.
Diet, exercise and access to health care are all seen as important ways to prevent breast cancer, and regular screening is important. Mammograms have detected breast cancer is up to 90 percent of women who otherwise showed no symptoms, health officials say.
To help combat this prevalent disease the American Cancer Society has organized several support programs and services for local residents. The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.
Below is a list of the support programs and services offered locally by the American Cancer Society:
Note: These programs maybe available to non cancer patients as well. Contact individual program for more information.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Free Medical Assistance – Provide the following services: Family Medicine, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Chronic Disease Management, Dental, Immunizations, Health Education, Case Management, Behavioral Health Services, and HIV Testing.
Free Children’s Medical Assistance – California Children Services (CCS) is a statewide program that arranges and pays for medical care, equipment, and rehabilitation for eligible children and youth. Services maybe authorized for children and young adults under 21 years of age who have eligible medical conditions and whose families are unable to pay for all or part of their care.
Medication Assistance – For those eligible patients in the United States who do not have insurance coverage or who cannot afford their out-of-pocket co-pay costs for medication, the company provides several support options through the Genentech Access Solutions program. Medications covered: Avastin, Herceptin, Rituxan, Tarceva, Xeloda, Zelboraf.
Free Medical Equipment & Supplies – Provide donated, reusable durable medical equipment, such as crutches, walkers, wheelchairs.
Free Dental Services – Donated Dental Services (DDS) – DDS volunteers provide comprehensive treatment to eligible patients. Volunteers do not provide emergency services.
Free Vision Services – Provide referrals for seniors 65+, who are in need of medical or surgical eye care. Callers who qualify are matched with a volunteer ophthalmologist, and receive treatment locally at no cost. The physician provides a comprehensive eye examination and treatment for any condition diagnosed at the first visit.
Free Mammogram – Breast Health Fair: Physicians, nurses, social workers, patient navigators and community cancer organizations will offer clinical breast exams and mammograms as needed; information on health coverage, support and resources.
Free Cancer Screening: Colorectal – The Colorectal Cancer Awareness and Screening Project (CCASP) aims to increase access to early detection colorectal cancer screening and education services services that together are unavailable to the uninsured and underinsured communities anywhere else in Northern Californian.
Free Cancer Screening: Prostate – Offer one day only free prostate cancer screenings once a year.
Free Assistance to Quit Smoking – The Quit For Life® Program is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and Alere Wellbeing. The program helps people quit tobacco use by providing coaching calls and access to a Quit Coach Access to Web Coach, an interactive, online community that offers e-learning tools, social support and information about quitting.
Wellness Program – This group will explore relaxation, guided imagery and meditation exercises for the mind and body. Dress comfortably.
Free Airline Transportation – Provides access for people in need seeking free air transportation to specialized health care facilities or distant destinations due to family, community or national crisis.
Free Ground Transportation – Provides 24 hours/7 days a week transportation for ambulatory patients, as well as patients in wheelchairs and gurneys (non-ambulatory).
Free Rides – Road to Recovery is an American Cancer Society volunteer service program that provides free transportation for cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments.
Breast Cancer Support – Peer-led support group for women with breast cancer.
Breast Prostheses & Accessories – Provide breast prostheses, compression garments, and lymphedema products. Mastectomy bras are available by special order only.
Free Cosmetic Support – Look Good Feel Better is free service, provided by certified/trained cosmetologists, which teaches cancer patients hands-on cosmetic techniques to help them cope with appearance-related side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Free Phones – Offer free, modified telephones for California residents who have cognitive, mobility, speech (speech amplifiers for laryngectomy patients), hearing, or vision impairments that are validated by a licensed physician. Client does not need to go into a center to receive services. Information and service may be initiated by phone.
Free or Reduced Wigs – Provide wigs, head coverings, and accessories free of charge.
Financial Assistance – The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund provides one-time, temporary assistance to help people experiencing an unexpected crisis. Critical needs help is provided in the form of grants that are paid directly to the supplier of services. Individuals do not receive direct grants. Assistance is also provided through food box and brown bag programs.
General Assistance – BACN is a short-term residential care facility for young children of families in a time of personal crisis. They serve families with parents who care but temporarily can’t cope with overwhelming stressful life emergencies.
Homemaker or Chore Service – Provide professional caregivers to aid with non-medical care. Services include: transportation, personal care, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication management and companionship.
Home Repair Assistance – The Neighborhood Preservation program’s purpose is to give loans to low and moderate-income persons to improve their homes by correcting health and safety problems and improving livability. The program is designed to improve the condition of the home with repairs such as painting, security, re-roofing, electrical and plumbing repairs, accessibility for the disabled and more.
Housing Assistance – Provides limited financial assistance for California cancer patients and their families during treatment.
Legal Assistance – Bay Area Legal Aid (Baylegal) is the largest provider of free civil legal services in the Bay Area. Our seven regional offices work together to provide high quality legal assistance to low-income people regardless of their location, language, or disability.
Respite Care – Offer a 5 day respite per month for caregivers with caregiver fatigue. Arrange for and transport patient to a facility who handles care. Also have social workers, home health aids, and a Chaplin available. Services are available only for family members who are registered with the hospice program.
COUNSELING, SUPPORT & REFERRALS
Visitation & Companion Services – Program offering support to cancer patients by phone and email. One-on-one support. the 4th Angel or Caregiver mentor is paired closely as possible with respect to diagnosis, gender and age.
Visitation & Companion Services – offers a weekly visit that lasts between 1-3 hrs (can be every week) where a volunteer can help with transportation to and from an appointment, help with errands and shopping, along with friendly visiting.
Bereavement and Grief Counseling – Offer crisis counseling, grief counseling, homeless services, youth violence prevention, and information and referrals.
Bereavement and Grief Counseling – Bereavement staff stay in touch with families for 13 months, as they cope with grief and loss after a loved one’s death. This resource is available only to families who are registered with the hospice.
Insurance Counseling – HICAP is a volunteer-supported program that provides unbiased information to help you make the best choice for your personal health care needs. Volunteer counselors receive many hours of continuing training and are registered with the State of California.
Nutritional Counseling – Navigating Chemotherapy and Nutrition – This class is primarily for newly diagnosed cancer patients who will be treated with chemotherapy.
Survivors Support – Survivorship 101 – You’ve finished treatment, now what? This is an introduction to post-treatment recovery and beyond. Learn how to create a summary of your treatment and map out a care plan for your recovery. You will leave empowered with the tools and guidance to improve your quality of life and achieve a greater sense of well-being.
Free Crisis Hotline – Offer crisis counseling, grief counseling, homeless services, youth violence prevention, and information and referrals. Support groups available: Suicide Support Group and Teenage Support Group. One-on-one counseling available.
Information & Referrals Services – Provide information and referrals on advocacy issues on behalf of clients. Serve union members and their families.
Hospice Referrals – Information and referral help for hospice facilities in California and Nevada. Toll-free number provides automated hospice directory using zip codes.
Reach to Recovery – Contact with a woman facing a diagnosis of breast cancer by a breast cancer survivor. All visitors are trained and certified by Reach to Recovery standards. Support available before, during, and/or after treatment.
RETREATS, CAMPS & WISHES
Free Retreats – Healing Odyssey is a nonprofit organization that provides recovery and cancer support programs for women cancer survivors. Our programs offer the practical tools, skills-building and support needed to cope effectively with the life-altering effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Free Retreats – Provides an opportunity for any woman who has experienced breast cancer to gather in a beautiful, natural setting and learn fly-fishing. The retreats incorporate counseling, educational services and the sport of fly-fishing to promote mental and physical healing. Retreats including lodging, meals and professional instruction, without cost to …
Free Kids Camp – Provide a unique camping program, free of charge, to children with chronic or life-threatening diseases. Children with cancer, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, blood disorders and other serious diseases are given the opportunity to enjoy activities that would otherwise be unavailable to them because of their illnesses
Wish Fulfillment – Grants wishes for the terminally ill elderly, and those with life threatening diseases (e.g. Alzheimers, AIDS, Congestive Heart Disease, COPD, renal disease), in Contra Costa County. Ages 60+. Application process required.
Scholarship Opportunities – The California Division’s Young Cancer Survivor Scholarship Program provides college scholarship money to pediatric cancer survivors. Awards are for enrollment and attendance tuition, registration, course fees, books, and/or supplies required for course instruction in an accredited 2 or 4 year institution of higher education, in California.
To find even more programs like this, visit the American Cancer Society Program Resource Search.