LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The diagnosis of cancer can put a person in an instant mental and emotional "fog" where getting through the daily grind of life can suddenly feel overwhelming. There's one resource here in Southwest Louisiana helping people make it through some of their toughest times.
Jean Ann East's 40th birthday eight years ago was a milestone for more than her age - that was the same day she was told she had breast cancer. "I was really devastated and the first thing I did once I kind of got my senses together was to call the 800 number from the American Cancer Society," she says.
Wanting to learn all she could about this diagnosis, Jean Ann latched onto the services the American Cancer Society offered through their local office in Lake Charles. "It just made me feel more confident and comfortable about what I was getting ready to face," says Jean Ann.
From wigs and bras to gas vouchers and "Reach to Recovery" matches for newly-diagnosed women and cancer survivors - Jean Ann found the resources she needed were right here. Dr. Henry Goolsby is the Director of Medical Oncology at The Clinic and he says the most successful treatment plan for cancer patients is a well-rounded mind, body and spirit approach. "I believe that the best outcome is provided by early detection, following the prescribed course of treatment by the physicians and using all of the available resources of our community," says Dr. Goolsby, "including those provided by the American Cancer Society."
Dr. Goolsby has also seen the benefits of the $3 billion the ACS has contributed to research. "Our basic knowledge of how the cell works has allowed us to develop a number of new treatments that have significantly improved survival and improved our cure rates," he says.
For people like Jean Ann, her experience with cancer didn't end after chemo. She still has two more years of medication to keep her breast cancer from redeveloping and she says living with this diagnosis has taught her the true meaning of strength. "You can do this," she says, "you can live through cancer, you can make it through your treatments and you can live a full life well beyond it."
*If you want to take advantage of the local resources the American Cancer Society offers, call 1-800-227-2345. Your chance to show your support for those affected by breast cancer is coming up Saturday, October 3rd with the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk and run. For registration information, click here.