Support available for rural women with breast cancer |

Support available for rural women with breast cancer

It's a fact: One in eight women in California will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer in her lifetime. That adds up to a lot of suffering, and plenty of need for support, connection and information. Thanks to an innovative study, several support groups are available for rural women diagnosed with breast cancer. The support groups are part of a study funded by California Breast Cancer Research Program to determine whether the use of group video technology such as Skype or Web-ex is effective at reducing the stress, depression and social isolation that often accompanies a breast cancer diagnosis.

The support groups of eight to 10 women are led by a trained facilitator for an hour and a half a week for eight weeks. The study is designed for women to join from their own home in real-time format. The only requirement is to have an Internet-connected computer with a camera. Cameras are available for loan if necessary. Support group meetings will take place Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings.

Although the value of support groups for women diagnosed with breast and other cancers is well documented, the sparse population of California's rural counties often means that there are not enough women to sustain an in-person group. Sierra Streams Institute, the Nevada City-based nonprofit environmental science organization, is teaming up with Stanford University researchers to offer professionally facilitated online video support groups for women in rural counties who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the study, women will be divided into groups to receive the support group intervention along with a workbook journal or to receive the workbook journal alone.

Enrollment in the study is currently open to women over the age of 21 in rural California counties who have received a breast cancer diagnosis within the past five years. A $50 stipend is available to participants. For information on enrolling in the study, visit or contact Lisa at the Sierra Stanford Partnership at 530-265-2442.

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