April 27, 2016

Breast cancer survivors share hope and help with new book

BY Kelly Miller

More than 40 breast cancer survivors – many treated at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in The Woodlands – have published their words of encouragement, faith and inspiration in a new book, The Breast Cancer Journey: Stories of Hope with Actions for Survival

The book of 90 stories debuts at a signing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, at MD Anderson’s center in The Woodlands. The facility is located at 17198 St. Luke’s Way, on the campus of CHI St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital.

Written as a practical “handbook” for patients going through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, but with an added dimension of support and spirituality, all the messages are from women who already have walked the journey. There are blank pages for journaling and writing notes, making the book a personal memoir.

The book is published by WestBow Press, and all proceeds will benefit research at MD Anderson. The book is available through WestBow and Amazon.       

Pamela Schlembach, M.D., professor of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson’s location in The Woodlands, and survivor Lucinda West are the co-authors, but the content is rooted in the stories of 43 breast cancer survivors from Conroe, Kingwood, The Woodlands, Spring and other surrounding communities.

The contributors are members of Breast Friends, a breast cancer support group that meets at MD Anderson in The Woodlands but is open to all patients and survivors, regardless of where they received treatment. Schlembach became the facilitator of the group at six years ago. Since that time, Breast Friends expanded its reach to MD Anderson locations in Katy, Sugar Land and Bay Area.

“The walls of the Breast Friends monthly meetings could not contain all the positive messages and words of support, so we decided to do a book,” said Schlembach. “Though everyone’s experience is different, many only know the rough side of breast cancer, but the journey also is an opportunity to reflect and share hope and strength. These are stories and inspirations that will resonate with all patients and survivors and the people close to them.”

The May 11 book signing will be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled Breast Friends monthly meeting at MD Anderson. The public is invited to attend. 

MD Anderson in The Woodlands is one of five suburban locations in the Houston area offering MD Anderson cancer care.  By providing MD Anderson’s standard of radiation, medical and specialized surgical oncology, infusion therapy, pain management, dermatology, rehabilitation, support services and nutritional counseling in the community, patients can stay closer to their homes, work and families. MD Anderson also has diagnostic imaging centers in Bellaire and West Houston, and a surgical office in Memorial City.