When a patient first hears the words breast cancer, one of the first things they discuss with their doctor is how to treat it.
Chemo-therapy, radiation and surgery might be a part of that conversation, but sometimes healing goes beyond the medicine.
We caught up with Debbie Fassino at work Friday. On any given day, you can find her wearing pink and raising awareness about breast cancer. She's an 11-year survivor.
"I've lost a lot of people along the way. It's a life process," says Debbie Fassino.
She went through years of treatment and medication, but Debbie says it was the support she got from other survivors that helped her make it through.
"Not everyone's the same, but we've all been able through cancer, and we just need to be able to support each other," says Fassino.
For 11-years, Debbie attended monthly support groups with other breast cancer survivors. She says it's exactly what she needed.
"There's always emotions going around, and sometimes the Kleenex box gets passed around the whole table," says Fassino.
There's surely an incentive for being a part of these support groups - besides healing. Ask Tonya Gentry who oversees a breast cancer survivor support group in Chattanooga and helps survivors in many ways.
"We offer financial assistance and help to pay mortgage or rent or utilities for breast cancer survivors, and while they're going through treatment," says Tonya Gentry.
Gentry is also a 3-year breast cancer survivor. She values the support groups.
"Sharing those experiences with other people that understand what you're going through is very therapeutic and very healthy. It's just a great place to go. Its thing you can talk about there that you can't talk about with your family," says Tonya Gentry.
There are many FREE programs and support groups offered through the Breast Cancer Support Services. To find out more about these services head over to ww.bcss-chattanooga.org or call 423-629-2445.
By Jerry Askin