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How does the Reach To Recovery® program support people facing breast cancer?

For more than 45 years, the American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery program has been helping people cope with their breast cancer experience – as early as the first possibility of a diagnosis and continuing for as long as breast cancer remains a personal concern to them.

Finding out that you have breast cancer can make you feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, and alone. Suddenly having to learn about complex medical treatments and trying to choose the best one can also be stressful during this time.

Our Reach To Recovery volunteers are specially trained to help people through their experience by offering a measure of comfort and an opportunity for emotional grounding and informed decision making. As breast cancer survivors, our volunteers give patients and family members an opportunity to express feelings, talk about fears and concerns, and ask questions of someone who has been there. Most importantly, Reach To Recovery volunteers offer understanding, support, and hope because they themselves have survived breast cancer and gone on to live productive lives. Program volunteers do not provide medical advice.

How does the program work?

Through face-to-face visits or by phone, Reach To Recovery volunteers provide support to individuals who are:

  • Facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis, recurrence, or advanced-stage breast cancer
  • Considering or have had a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or breast reconstruction
  • Experiencing lymphedema
  • Undergoing or have completed treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation

Volunteers are trained to give support and up-to-date information, including literature for spouses or partners, children, friends, and other loved ones. Volunteers can also review American Cancer Society resources that may be able to help with a patient’s experience, concerns, and questions.

How do I become a Reach To Recovery volunteer?

The Reach To Recovery program works through carefully selected and trained volunteers who have fully adjusted to their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. All volunteers complete an initial training and participate in ongoing program updates and trainings.

Are you a breast cancer survivor who has overcome cancer to regain a well-adjusted and emotionally stable life? Are you warm, courteous, tactful, and considerate, with the ability to maintain confidentiality? Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or contact your local American Cancer Society office to learn more about becoming a Reach To Recovery volunteer and making a difference in the lives of people facing breast cancer.

Last Medical Review: 05/08/2014
Last Revised: 05/08/2014