Featured Story Written By Shelby Quintana

Care After Cancer

At the Meredith and Jeannie Ray Cancer Center, we are dedicated to caring for patients from their first diagnosis through the completion of treatment and into survivorship.

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Recently, the Cancer Center received grants from the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initia­tive to support our mission of provid­ing excep­tional care to cancer patients and survivors in the Laramie community.

These grants give access to programs that are virtu­ally nonex­is­tent in Wyoming,” said Amy Smith, direc­tor of the Mered­ith and Jean­nie Ray Cancer Center.

Created after the Susan B. Komen orga­ni­za­tion left Wyoming (as the state could not meet the new national require­ments to raise $1 million annu­ally,) the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initia­tive aims to increase breast health educa­tion, finan­cially assist breast cancer screen­ings, facil­i­tate patient navi­ga­tion and promote survivor services. All proceeds raised through fundrais­ing efforts remain in Wyoming to grant into eligi­ble programs. The Cancer Center received two grants to start a Breast Boutique and to create the Surviv­ing and Thriv­ing After Cancer program.

The Breast Boutique

Named in grat­i­tude by Thrivent Finan­cial, The Breast Boutique at the Mered­ith and Jean­nie Ray Cancer Center was awarded $15,600 to provide specialty services and prod­ucts for post-surgi­cal breast cancer patients. The purpose for start­ing this boutique was to address vulner­a­bil­ity and body image,” said Kate­lyn Rosier, social worker in our Medical Oncol­ogy depart­ment. Research on the concerns reported by women with breast cancer indi­cates body image’ as one of the high­est priorities.”

Body image is composed of both the posi­tive and nega­tive thoughts we have about our bodies, and plays a role in breast cancer patients’ jour­ney. The effects of breast cancer, espe­cially surg­eries, can create a lot of vulner­a­bil­ity for women,” said Kate­lyn. The way they look will be altered.”

Body image is some­thing that most people don’t ever want to talk about, but it’s real and very neces­sary to help women through every part of treat­ment includ­ing changes in their phys­i­cal appear­ance,” said Amy. Having our Breast Boutique avail­able for women under­go­ing treat­ment for cancer gives them more confi­dence in their journey.”

Located within the Cancer Center, the Breast Boutique caters to patients who have under­gone mastec­tomies, lumpec­tomies or breast recon­struc­tion by provid­ing free, profes­sional fittings for sili­cone pros­thet­ics, pros­thetic bras and post mastec­tomy mate­ri­als. Patients will be measured for pros­thet­ics and bras by certi­fied mastec­tomy fitters, and can select a bra from five differ­ent styles to take home that day. The pros­thetic mate­ri­als in the boutique are all used for fitting purposes,” said Kate­lyn. After the patient selects the size and style of pros­thetic they like, we will order it in for them.”

The Breast Boutique was created with the idea to help breast cancer patients grace­fully adapt to life after surgery. This service is all about invit­ing women who strug­gle with the vulner­a­bil­ity in body image to step into the arena and take control over the stories they are telling them­selves,” said Kate­lyn. With all the changes the patient goes through, our boutique can help bring a sense of normalcy to their life.”

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Surviv­ing and Thriv­ing After Cancer

Thanks to the generos­ity of Janet Dorsch, the Mered­ith and Jeanne Ray Cancer Center and Ivinson’s Rehab Services were able to collab­o­rate to create the Surviv­ing and Thriv­ing After Cancer program (STAC). STAC is a six-week exer­cise program to promote well­ness for cancer patients and cancer survivors,” said Rebecca Fisher, phys­i­cal ther­a­pist in Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Services. It offers social support, educa­tion on cancer preven­tion and side effects manage­ment while encour­ag­ing habits to main­tain a healthy lifestyle.”

Guest speak­ers includ­ing nurse prac­ti­tion­ers, dieti­cians, yoga instruc­tors and social work­ers present on topics such as how to improve posture, lift­ing mechan­ics and anxi­ety manage­ment. STAC meets twice a week on Mondays and Wednes­days,” said Scar­lett Barns, cardiac rehab coor­di­na­tor. We struc­tured the program to begin with 15 minutes of educa­tion, move into 30 minutes of strength train­ing, work for 15 minutes on cardio and end with 15 – 20 minutes of a cool-down.”

Designed to assist those who have expe­ri­enced cancer or who are currently under­go­ing cancer treat­ments, the program covers a vari­ety of topics and exer­cises to help patients adjust to life during their cancer treat­ments and into survivor­ship. Many cancer patients face the ques­tion of Now What?’ after the comple­tion of their treat­ments, because they are not the same person emotion­ally or phys­i­cally,” said Scar­lett. This is a great resource for patients to have during this transition.”

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Cancer Care in Laramie

At Ivin­son, it is our belief that the path to over­com­ing cancer is a team effort, includ­ing the support of our patients’ care team, family and friends. At the Cancer Center, we are dedi­cated to help­ing each of our patients look and feel the best they can during and after treat­ment,” said Amy. This is why the Breast Boutique and STAC are so impor­tant and such a unique oppor­tu­nity for our cancer patients.” We are proud to provide excep­tional care for cancer patients through­out every step of their jour­ney – from their first diag­no­sis, through­out their treat­ments and into survivorship.

Learn More

For more infor­ma­tion on the Breast Boutique or the STAC program, please contact the Mered­ith and Jean­nie Ray Cancer Center at (307) 7427586.