Toll Free Number Offers Advice
Cancer Patients Can Call For Help

(NAPS) Edith M. is a fighter - and a survivor. She was courageous in battling two bouts with cancer, but when her doctor recently diagnosed a third, unrelated cancer in her throat, her spirits flagged.

"I just didn't know where to turn," Edith said. "I didn't know how I would find the strength to go on." Then she found out about the Cancer Care Counseling Line, 1-800-813-HOPE.

Cancer is often a frightening, overwhelming experience. Friends and family members may feel they don't know what to do or say, and in many communities, professional support for cancer patients and their families is very limited - or nonexistent. People don't know where to turn for information or guidance.

Cancer Care, Inc., a New York-based social service organization, is one of the few with a large staff of professional, accredited social workers. For more than 50 years, Cancer Care has offered information, education, counseling and financial support to patients and their families. Last year, thanks to a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb, the agency was able to expand its services through an 800 number staffed by licensed clinical social workers.

"Edith was very downhearted when she called," said Jane Levy, Social Work Supervisor, of the Counseling Line. Ms. Levy, an accredited social worker, talked with Edith about the resources she had in her life, and within herself - her family, her church, her own beliefs.

"I reminded her of her earlier courage, and helped her think about how she could use them again," Jane Levy said.

The Cancer Care Counseling Line, 1-800-813-HOPE, is free of charge to all callers and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (EST).

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