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Cancer Survivors Take to the Road to Help Patients

Cancer Survivors Take to the Road to Help Patients

Bill Lynch / The Charleston Gazette

April 05, 2009

Betty Beeson says the hardest thing about being a driver for the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program is she doesn’t get called on enough. Not enough people know about it, she says.

Road to Recovery is a free program for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society matches patients with drivers who take them to and from the hospital for treatment.

Beeson, 62, says cancer is a tough fight. In 1996 and in 2001, she went through treatment for breast cancer. She says she wouldn’t have gotten through it without the support of her family.

Others aren’t so lucky.

“In West Virginia,” she explained, “women with breast cancer will often take a radical surgical route when they could undergo radiation. Surgery is just one procedure. Radiation and chemotherapy take time and you feel awful.”

Beeson says women facing breast cancer will sometimes choose a mastectomy instead of lumpectomy. A lumpectomy, which removes cancerous tissue from the breast, usually requires radiation treatments after surgery. A mastectomy, which often removes the entire breast, in this case, wouldn’t.

Beeson says women usually run households. They work, manage the schedules of children and also take on the bulk of the chores in the home. A lot of responsibility is placed on women to keep the home moving. When they get sick, it’s harder for them to get the time necessary to recuperate and there may not be someone around who can help them get to the doctor.

“They’ll take the drastic procedure because it’s easier,” she said.

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