Sharon and BarbFighting cancer is a journey that must be taken one step at a time. Cancer patients may feel so overwhelmed that they don’t know where to turn. It is important for these individuals to know they are not fighting this battle alone.

As a part of Southeastern Med’s Commission on Cancer Approved Cancer Services, Southeastern Med houses an American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Center that is free to visit and use. The Cancer Resource Center can be a great help to cancer patients, their families, and their caregivers.

The Cancer Resource Center provides current cancer information and resources, cancer education material, information on local support groups and community resources, and health information. At the Cancer Resource Center, individuals will find trained staff available to answer questions, books, and brochures with up-to-date information provided by the American Cancer Society.

The breast health navigator is also available to provide assistance. Sharon Gay, RNC, Southeastern Med’s breast health navigator, can help with social and emotional issues encountered by cancer patients and their families along the cancer journey. Sharon also helps women facing breast cancer find a wig or hat to wear during hair loss and re-growth. Sharon holds an essential role as contact person for referring physicians, patients, and caregivers. As the breast health navigator, she also provides various resources and helps evaluate clinical and supportive care services offered within Southeastern Med and in the community.

Sharon is a graduate of Ohio University Zanesville and has always found a passion for nursing. In addition to her role as breast health navigator, Sharon also serves as a nurse at Southeastern Med’s Cambridge Regional Cancer Center. Sharon has a true heart for people and their best interests, radiating that concern in the care she provides. “Our community is very blessed to have Sharon as our breast health navigator. Sharon ensures our patients understand what is happening and provides the one on one support needed,” noted Bonnie Burns, MBA-HC, BBA manager of Southeastern Med’s Cancer Registry.

Sharon can help by providing breast cancer patients with literature on coping with cancer, what to expect during chemotherapy and radiation, and dealing with side effects of treatment; by referring a person to support groups, classes, and other programs for information and support; by listening, caring, and helping you in your time of need; by identifying activities that can help ensure a better quality of life; and by helping cancer survivors learn to self-navigate.

“Sharon has been so good about checking up on me through my treatments and helping me find a wig that looks like my natural hair,” explained Barb Stephens, of Barnesville, breast cancer survivor. “Sharon has the perfect personality for her job! You can’t help but love her! She’s been a real help to me.”

It is important to know that as a breast health navigator, Sharon does not provide medical advice, does not limit your options to seek other sources of cancer information or support, does not offer opinions regarding medical treatment or choice of healthcare provider, and does not replace or interfere with the physician/patient relationship.

On Wednesday, October 28th, from 4pm -7pm at the Community Healthlink, Southeastern Med’s Power Me Pink program will be offering free breast cancer screenings and mammograms. Specifically, this screening is geared toward those over the age of 40 with limited resources who are underinsured or uninsured.

Dr. Michael Sarap and Dr. Joseph O’Hanlon, surgeons from Southeastern Ohio Physicians, will be conducting the breast screenings. Melissa Corbett, RT (R) (M), mammography technologist at Southeastern Med, will be conducting any necessary mammograms. Also, Southeastern Med’s resource counselors will also be available to confidentially discuss healthcare insurance, including Medicaid and Healthcare Marketplace. “We are so happy to be able to offer this service (free mammograms) to patients!” stated Melissa Corbett. “The American Cancer Society continues to recommend a clinical breast exam every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over. You should always be proactive when it comes to your health and cancer prevention. You should continue to have regular checkups, even if you feel fine. ”

This free service for our community is funded through a grant from the Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Armed Forces of America Motor Cycle Club. Registration is required in order to attend the upcoming screening. To see if you qualify and to register, please call Southeastern Med’s Mammogram Hotline at 740-435-2500.

Remember, early detection can save your life!