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American Psychosocial Oncology Society Conference
In late January Mimi attended the American Psychosocial Oncology Society conference in Phoenix, Arizona. She thought she had died and gone to heaven! The field of psychosocial oncology is just beginning to become part of mainstream cancer care, and the conference was only the second one ever.

At the opening plenary Doug Ulman, founder of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adullts, cited findings compiled by the Lance Armstrong Foundation from a October 2004 survey of 1,020 self-identified cancer survivors in. Results of the poll include:

  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents said their non-medical cancer needs were unmet.
  • Among those who felt their non-medical cancer needs were unmet, 70 percent said their oncologists did not offer any support in dealing with the non-medical aspect of cancer. The other 30 percent said their oncologist was willing to talk about these issues, but did not have enough information or experience to really help them out in this area.
  • More than half (53%) of respondents agreed that the practical and emotional consequences of dealing with cancer are often harder than the medical issues.
  • One-third (33%) said some or very few/none resources were available to meet their emotional needs, followed by 28 percent for practical issues, like finances and work, 23 percent for physical issues and 14 percent for medical issues.

These findings were music to Mimiís ears because they summarize the rationale for WomenStories videos, a rationale that she has repeated like a mantra in order to interest people in WomenStories both as customers and as funders. These findings are revolutionary and you can read the complete document by clicking here.

Mimi and Phyllis Manning, a friend formerly of Buffalo and a breast cancer survivor, manned the WomenStories booth. There being only seven exhibitors, those who were there got a great deal of attention and very positive feedback. WomenStories videos is one of only a handful of psychosocial projects and materials available to nurses, physicians, social workers and cancer educators. People who visited the booth were very impressed and enthusiastic about the quality of the videos and the messages of support they give to breast cancer patients. Stay tuned for alliances and deals that are percolating as a result of this conference.