July 09, 2004

CHAPEL HILL — N.C. women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer now have a newly updated 300-page resource directory to guide them through diagnosis, treatment and other issues.The second edition of the “Breast Cancer Resource Directory of North Carolina” is available, at no charge, by e-mailing bcresources@med.unc.edu or calling (800) 514-4860. The first edition is online at http://www.bcresourcedirectory.org, and the second edition will be posted later this summer.The Breast Cancer Coalition of North Carolina and the N.C. Center for Genomics and Public Health have created and are distributing the second edition. The center is housed in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health’s N.C. Institute for Public Health. The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center also is a partner.

Statistics show that breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women statewide and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths statewide, following lung cancer.

The directory offers comprehensive information for women diagnosed with breast cancer (or at high risk for the disease), family and friends of these women, and health-care providers. The text covers issues as diverse as diagnosis and treatment, insurance and finances, support groups and cancer treatment at North Carolina’s hospitals. Each chapter features a list of regional and national organizations, Web sites, books and other materials.

“Not only is it North Carolina’s first statewide resource for breast cancer patients, survivors and those who care for them, but it’s available free of charge, in print and online,” said Jamie Konarski Davidson, one of the directory’s coordinators and a two-time breast cancer survivor. “It’s one of only a handful of statewide resources in the nation and has been used as a model for a similar resource guide in Connecticut.”

Another of the directory’s coordinators, Elizabeth Mahanna, who also is a cancer survivor, added, “A resource of this kind was not available when we were diagnosed. And now we’ve added updated sections on genetic testing, women with disabilities and minority women, and have translated some portions into Spanish. Our aim is to be as comprehensive as possible.”

The Women Building Bridges program, a directory feature, helps women statewide speak to someone who has faced the diagnosis of breast cancer. More than 50 breast cancer survivors, including 11 from the Triangle, have volunteered to share their personal stories and provide counseling to others – and their names are listed in the directory.

Brenda Boyd Purser of Beaufort County is one of these volunteers. She was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago at the age of 49 and volunteered for the program while attending a support group in Beaufort County. Purser has counseled at least 10 women who found her number in the resource directory.

“When you’ve already been there, you can be moral support to others,” Purser said.

Hospitals, health departments, libraries and cancer support organizations receive copies of the directory.

The NC Triangle Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a longtime sponsor of the project. Other supporters, in addition to the Breast Cancer Coalition of North Carolina, the N.C. Center for Genomics and Public Health and UNC Lineberger, include Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology, other comprehensive cancer centers and N.C. hospitals, and other corporate and individual sponsors.

In addition, the North Carolina Triad Affiliate of the Komen Foundation and the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation awarded grants to produce the directory’s second edition.

N.C. Center for Genomics and Public Health contact: Elizabeth Mahanna, (919) 966-9834 Breast Cancer Coalition of North Carolina contact: Jamie Konarski Davidson, (252) 758-4567

For further information please contact Emily Smith either by phone at 919-966-8498 or by email at emilysmith@unc.edu

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