Buddy Check 7: Support groups are important outlet for recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Buddy Check 7: Support groups are important outlet for recovery

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On the seventh of each month at KWWL, we take time out for a "Buddy Check 7" report.  It's all aimed at catching breast cancer early for successful treatment. 

Battling breast cancer can certainly take its toll on the body.  But it can also be very difficult emotionally.  Studies have shown that support groups are an important tool in improving the quality of life for cancer patients.  But they may be equally important for survivors in trying to heal from the scars cancer can leave behind.

At just 25, ShanQuiesha Robinson discovered what is many women's worst nightmare:  a tumor in her breast.

"My sister was diagnosed at 21.  And before her, my grandmother was pretty young, was diagnosed, and ended up passing from metastasized breast cancer.  So I had the experience, but nothing prepares you for your own journey," Robinson said.

Learning about treatment options and fighting the disease certainly took its toll.  But combating cancer's physical effects wasn't the only battle.

"During that time, I felt kind of alone and felt like I needed some more support," said Robinson.

Getting support was critical not just during her treatment, but also now as a survivor.  That's why she worked to create an outlet for women of color to learn how to transition back to life without cancer.

"Especially if you go through radiation, losing the hair, and either losing weight or gaining weight, and not always knowing what to say to a family member.  Or you may not want to speak about it because you want to be strong," said Robinson.

The support group she helped create, Splash of Color, will soon turn a year old.  And it's helping to spread an important message.

"As an African American community, we kind of not talk about our health history.  But it's important because when you discuss those kinds of issues you can prepare the next generations and take the necessary steps to prevent or early detect diseases like breast cancer," Robinson said.

It's education that can encourage all women to keep up with regular self exams and mammograms, in an effort to stop breast cancer in its tracks.

Splash of Color meets quarterly.  The next meeting will be held Thursday, August 11 at 5 p.m. in the Waterloo Public Library.  A guest speaker will help survivors overcome their physical insecurities by discovering their inner beauty.

And we'd like to take this Buddy Check 7 to encourage you to remind a friend to keep up to date with regular exams.  Early detection is key to a quick recovery.  Additional resources are available here.

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