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Reach to Recovery program aids local breast cancer survivors

Before the end of this year, almost 5,000 women in Washington state will sit across from their doctor and hear the four words that will change their lives forever: "You have breast cancer."

That is when contacting the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery program becomes so essential. It will be the first step that will take them from diagnosis and possible surgery to treatment and on through recovery.

The Society's Reach to Recovery has been a vital nationwide program for breast cancer patients for the past 30 years. It is a program where breast cancer survivors provide one-on-one support, information and inspiration to women to help them cope with their diagnoses.

According to Todd Courtney, Quality of Life Manager for the American Cancer Society, volunteer counselors in both the Tri-Cities and Yakima are a beacon in the night for women newly diagnosed with their breast cancer.

"The women may have a terrific support system with their friends and family members, but even they can't fill the void offered by the Reach to Recovery volunteers who have that special insight into the impact of hearing those four words -- because they've already heard their own diagnosis," says Courtney.

The volunteer counselors meet with the women in a relaxed, confidential setting or over the phone. The counselors are trained and have access to the latest information on cancer treatments, ongoing research, the programs offered in their communities and by the American Cancer Society.

For more information about the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery program or to receive a visit from a trained Reach counselor, call 1-800-227-2345.

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