Breast cancer

Breast cancer patient and family resources

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin, is recognized throughout the Midwest and the nation as one of the leading innovators in cancer research, quality patient care and active community involvement.

A large component of our comprehensive care involves patient support. The links below discuss the ways we support our breast cancer patients and families.

UW Health patient resources

Patients and caregivers may face numerous questions, needs and concerns during their cancer journey, making a difficult time even more challenging. The UW Health Breast Center Patient Navigator Program assists patients, families and caregivers during and after treatment. Patient navigators provide information, day-to-day help and emotional support to cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. Komen South Central Wisconsin provides support for the UW Health Patient Navigation program. To connect with a Breast Patient Navigator, call (608) 266-6400 (UW Hospital Breast Center) or (608) 287-2050 (1 S. Park Street Breast Center).

Nurses and health educators offer information about services at the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center. Cancer Connect is available Monday through Friday, 9am-4pm, by calling (608) 262-5223 or (800) 622-8922More information

CareWear offers a wide variety of products for women receiving treatment for cancer, including breast prostheses, breast forms, bras, natural hair eyebrows, headscarves and lymphedema sleeves. CareWear is located near the Breast Center at UW Hospital. To learn more, call (608) 262-2609More information

Social workers assist patients, their family members and other support people with the stresses related to breast cancer and its impact on everyday life. Services include support with emotional issues, the impact on your family, adjusting to the illness and treatment, and financial, disability, access and vocational issues. To learn more, call (608) 263-8633 (UW Hospital Breast Center) or (608) 821-4819 (1 S. Park Street Breast Center).

The UW Clinical Genetics Center offers risk assessment and counseling to patients who have concerns about their personal and/or family history of cancer. Your UW Health breast health provider will help you decide if you need a genetics counseling appointment after reviewing your family and personal history of cancer. If you have a provider outside of the UW Health system, please ask him or her if an appointment with a genetics counselor is appropriate for your family history. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 263-7284More information

It's not uncommon to have difficulty coping with a diagnosis of cancer and its treatment. UW Health psychologists assist cancer patients and their families through individual and family counseling. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 265-1700 or ask your breast health provider for a referral. More information

UW Health has a healing-oriented philosophy that focuses on less invasive options for removing barriers that may block the body's ability to heal. Integrative health recognizes and nurtures each person’s unique balance of mind, body and spirit through acupuncture, healing touch, massage therapy, naturopathic consultation and the Feldenkrais Method. To learn more, call (608) 263-7936 at UW Health Research Park or (608) 265-1700 (option 1) at UW Hospital (acupuncture only). More information

Occupational therapists with advanced training in the treatment of lymphedema assist patients who experience swelling as a result of cancer treatment. Patients must have a written prescription or an internal UW Health referral to be evaluated by a therapist. Appointments are scheduled after the referral is received. To learn more, call (608) 263-8060More information

During individual consultations and group classes, participants learn the techniques of relaxation, guided imagery and mindfulness meditation to complement traditional medical care. To learn more, call (608) 265-8325. Registration for classes is encouraged several months in advance. More information

UW Health registered dietitians and nutritionists are available to answer questions about food and nutrition. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 265-1700 (option 1). More information

The Prevention, Assessment and Tailored Health Screening (PATHS) program helps women understand and manage their risk of breast cancer. To learn more, call (608) 266-6400More information

This UW Health service matches newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with a trained volunteer who has had a personal experience with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. To learn more, call (608) 266-6400 at the UW Hospital Breast Center or (608) 287-2050 at the 1 S. Park Street Breast Center. More information

One of the difficult side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. Cooling caps, also called scalp hypothermia, are silicone caps cooled to very low temperatures that you wear before, during and after a chemotherapy treatment to help reduce or prevent this hair loss. Cooling cap systems are FDA approved in women with breast cancer. More information

Through the UW Health Breast Center Survivorship ProgramLori Seaborne, MPAS, PA-C, answers questions about sexual issues after breast cancer and helps patients access resources. She is certified as a sexuality counselor through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 266-6400. The Women’s Integrative Sexual Health (WISH) Program also provides individual consultation, resources, education, emotional support and referrals related to sexual health concerns for women with cancer. During the first 60-minute consultation, a thorough patient history is taken and education about sexual problems is provided. The second 60-minute visit includes a complete physical exam and treatment planning discussion. To learn more, call (608) 263-1548 and leave a message with a clinic nurse. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 265-1700.

The UW Health Smoking Cessation Clinic provides treatment for tobacco dependence, including individualized counseling and medications. To learn more, call (608) 263-0573More information

UW Health offers spiritual and emotional support for patients with cancer. Chaplains assist people from all religions and those with no faith tradition. The Spiritual Care office is open Monday through Friday from 8am-4:30pm. To learn more, call (608) 263-8574. A chaplain also is available 24 hours a day by calling (608) 262-2122More information

High-quality wigs, turbans and scarves are available at no cost to patients receiving care at UW Health who are experiencing hair loss due to treatment for cancer or other illnesses. Trained volunteers assist with choice, fitting and care. A licensed cosmetologist cuts and shapes wigs from the Wig Salon at no cost to patients. Hospital patients must be accompanied by a staff member for the entire appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 265-0090. The Wig Salon is sponsored by the Friends of UW Hospital and Clinics and the Komen Foundation of South Central Wisconsin. It is located in room J3/244 at UW Hospital.

Local resources

Run by a physician and a social worker, this store offers free private consultations for women experiencing menopausal or sexual side effects of breast cancer treatment. It is located at 302 S. Livingston Street, Madison. To learn more, call Ellen Barnard, MSSW, or Myrtle Wilhite, MD, MS, (608) 250-1928.
Website: sexualityresources.com
Email: awt@chorus.net

Infinite Boundaries retreats are based on the belief that the journey to recovery and healing involves the whole woman – mind and body. The four-day wellness retreats are designed to help women find inner strength and experience the hope needed to live each day beyond the boundaries of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Recovery also sponsors awareness and educational programs. To learn more, call (608) 821-1140.
Website: www.bcrecovery.org

This educational advocacy organization provides information and services that empower patients to make decisions, in partnership with healthcare providers, about the care they need and want. The Center advocates for patient choices and preferences with healthcare providers, insurers and other parties. It focuses on problem solving and communication to help patients and providers make good decisions together, and for patients to access the desired care or treatment.
Website: www.patientpartnerships.org
Email: advocacy@patientpartnerships.org

Funded by Susan G. Koman of South Central Wisconsin, this special collection of breast cancer resources includes bilingual, easy-to-understand and culturally diverse children’s materials. The resources are available at the Monona Public Library and throughout the South Central Library System.
Websites: www.dcls.infomymonona.com/131/Library

Gilda's Club Madison is a nonprofit cancer support community for anyone touched by cancer, including patients, families and friends of all ages. Gilda’s Club offers programs in Middleton, Dodgeville, Baraboo and online. Support groups for people with a diagnosis, supporters, teenagers and children are offered weekly. Membership is free. Programs of special interest to breast cancer patients and supporters include:

  • Breast Cancer Networking Group for patients, first Monday of the month

  • Young Survivors Group for cancer patients diagnosed under the age of 40, second Thursday of the month

  • Breast Cancer Instant Sisters for survivors of breast cancer that has spread to other areas of the body, first Tuesday of the month. Psychologist Dr. Lauren Cunningham facilitates the group.

  • Yoga classes every Tuesday and Wednesday

  • Grief and Loss Group, fourth Wednesday of the month

  • Cancer Transitions, a six-session workshop to help cancer survivors make the transition from active treatment to post-treatment care.

Programs change, check with Gilda’s Club directly for current offerings.
Website: gildasclubmadison.org
Email: program@gildasclubmadison.org
Phone: (608) 828-8880

This organization provides individual and group support for women in the Stoughton area who have breast cancer, whether newly diagnosed, receiving treatment or completed treatment. For more information about meeting time and location, call (608) 873-6041 or (608) 770-7829.

Komen South Central Wisconsin is the local affiliate of the national Komen foundation. This nonprofit organization raises millions of dollars nationally through community events such as the Komen Race for the Cure. More than 75 percent of the money raised by local affiliates stays in the communities to support patients with breast cancer who are underinsured or uninsured. The remaining money supports ground-breaking research throughout the United States.
Website: komensouthcentralwi.org

This program offered by the American Cancer Society helps breast cancer patients (men and women) cope with their diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Volunteers are breast cancer survivors who give patients and family members an opportunity to ask questions and express feelings, fears and concerns.
Website: www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices/reach-to-recovery
Phone: (800) 227-2345

This program offered by the American Cancer Society provides Wisconsin cancer patients with a one-time opportunity for two free round-trip tickets to treatment outside the state.
Phone: (800) 227-2345

United Way 2-1-1 is a community resource line, providing 24-hour, 365-day-a-year, free and confidential information and referral services for people in Dane County who are in need of help.
Website: www.unitedwaydanecounty.org/get-help/2-1-1
Phone: Call 2-1-1 within Dane County or (608) 246-4357 from outside Dane County and from cellular phones.

The Camp Randall Rowing Club partners with local medical and cancer support groups to provide wellness and recovery options for women who have survived breast and other cancers through WeCanRow-Madison. The goal is to give participants a sense of control, connect them with other cancer survivors and help them rebuild physical strength and mental focus.
Website: camprandallrc.org/programs/we-can-row
Email: camprandallrowingclub@gmail.com

The Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation offers education programs, retreats and general information about breast cancer and the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Website: www.wwhf.org
Phone: (608) 251-1675

This statewide program provides free health checkups for women with little or no health insurance. It offers free screenings, diagnostic tests and referrals for some of the most common women's health issues, including breast cancer.
Website: www.wellwomandanecounty.org
Phone: (608) 242-6392

Regional/National Resources

ABCD complements the work of healthcare providers by serving as a reliable, accessible and highly personalized resource for breast cancer support. Its signature breast cancer support service, One-to-One mentoring, is provided by trained volunteers who have personally experienced breast cancer. All services are free.
Website: www.abcdbreastcancersupport.org
Helpline: (800) 977-4121
Phone: (414) 977-1780

Angel Flight Central is a national non-profit charitable organization of over 1,500 private pilots who fly ambulatory patients who cannot afford the cost of travel to medical facilities for diagnosis and treatment.
Website: www.angelflightcentral.org
Phone: 1-866-569-9464

This nonprofit organization provides programs and assistance for patients and family members affected by cancer.
Website: www.angelonmyshoulder.org

Founded in 1944, this national organization provides free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practice and financial challenges of cancers. Services include a toll-free counseling line and teleconference programs.
Website: www.cancercare.org
Phone: (800) 813-4673

This national nonprofit organization matches cancer patients and family members with trained volunteers who have undergone and recovered from a similar experience. Volunteers provide free one-to-one support via telephone.
Website: www.cancerhopenetwork.org
Phone: (877) 467-3638

As part of the Disability Rights Legal Center, this organization provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to people with cancer, caregivers, healthcare professionals, employers and others.
Website: www.disabilityrightslegalcenter.org/cancer-legal-resource-center

Cancer and Careers empowers and educates people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events. Online resources, free publications, career coaching, support groups and educational seminars are available. A program of the Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation, Cancer and Careers strives to eliminate fear and uncertainty for working people with cancer.
Website: http://www.cancerandcareers.org

CaringBridge is a national nonprofit organization that allows people to create a free website for sharing information during a health journey. By creating a CaringBridge website, people in a time of need can share updates, photos and videos, connecting with friends and family who care and want to help. Customized security settings control who can visit each personalized ad-free website. Visitors can provide messages of support to the patient and family.
Website: www.caringbridge.org

This charitable organization arranges free air transportation for cancer patients traveling to and from recognized treatment centers in the United States.
Website: www.corpangelnetwork.org
Phone: (914) 328-1313

CURE magazine focuses entirely on cancer and is distributed to patients, cancer centers and advocacy groups. Online information and resources also are available. For a free subscription, visit the magazine's website.
Website: www.curetoday.com

This national organization provides support, advocacy, awareness and research related to individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. A helpline, webinars, a newsletter and other resources are available.
Website: www.facingourrisk.org

GiveForward provides free online fundraising pages that allow friends and family to raise money and offer emotional support for a loved one when they need it the most. Fundraising coaches provide ideas and guidance.
Website: www.giveforward.com/p/help-for-cancer-patients

This nonprofit organization assists patients across the United States with either private or public insurance who cannot afford the cost of specialty medication. Formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund, Good Days assists patients and healthcare professionals who support them in finding financial help. Eligibility may be closed for certain diseases and conditions.
Website: www.gooddaysfromcdf.org
Phone: (877) 968-7233

Imerman Angels matches and individually pairs a person seeking cancer support with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer. Caregivers (spouses, parents, children and other family and friends) also receive one-on-one connections with other caregivers and survivors. The service is free.
Website: www.imermanangels.org
Phone: (877) 274-5529

The National LGBT Cancer Project provides cancer-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people and other sexuality and gender diverse people and communities. Its online support community, Out With Cancer, offers peer support, patient navigation, education and advocacy.
Website: lgbtcancer.org

This organization provides support services to people affected by cancer. It offers information about fertility, health insurance and clinical trials, as well as articles, videos and other resources.
Website: www.livestrong.org

This website allows patients and support people to create an online community that helps organize daily life during times of medical crisis. Organizers can create a calendar with requests for help preparing meals, getting to appointments and other needs – with reminders sent to volunteers. Community members also can post announcements and well wishes.
Website: www.lotsahelpinghands.com

As part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health provides research-based information to guide healthcare decision making.
Website: nccih.nih.gov
Phone: (888) 644-6226

This national nonprofit organization helps people locate programs that assist with the medication and other healthcare costs.
Website: www.needymeds.org

The national Patient Advocate Foundation provides cancer patients and survivors with education, legal counseling and referrals related to managed care, insurance, financial issues and job discrimination. Its subsidiary, the Patient Assistance Program, provides financial assistance to patients who meet certain qualifications.
Website: www.patientadvocate.org
Phone: (800) 532-5274

This nonprofit organization provides support to women affected by breast cancer. Pink-Link offers an online database of survivors, family members and friends for making connections and sharing experiences. Its mission is to empower women in obtaining a healthy survivorship of breast cancer.
Website: www.pink-link.org

The Pink Fund offers support to help meet basic needs, decrease stress levels and allow breast cancer patients to focus on healing while improving survivorship outcomes. It provides short-term financial assistance with basic living expenses to breast cancer patients who have loss all or part of their income during treatment.
Website: www.thepinkfund.org

This national organization supports women who are diagnosed with cancer while pregnant. Through a network of women across the United States, the group matches patients with women in similar situations who can lend support, share her experience and offer hope.
Website: www.pregnantwithcancer.org

This national organization provides women affected by breast and ovarian cancers with a variety of services, including a helpline and phone support groups (for young survivors, metastatic cancer, etc.). Services for Spanish-speaking women are available.
Website: www.sharecancersupport.org
Phone: (844) 275-7427

A program of the National Center for Civic Innovation, this organization seeks to improve the quality of life for anyone who needs support and to reduce the stress, depression, isolation and economic hardship of their caregivers. It is based on the book Share the Care: How to Organize a Group to Care for Someone Who is Seriously Ill and provides a road map for creating a caregiver team to provide individuals and families with help meeting the daily challenges of illness.
Website: www.sharethecare.org

The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation raises public awareness, supports research and provides programs and services to women with triple negative breast cancer. A helpline and online discussion forum are available.
Website: www.tnbcfoundation.org

This organization is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of people affected by breast cancer. It supports a variety of programs dedicated to breast cancer screening, prevention and treatment along with patient health and well-being.
Website: www.ubcf.info
Phone: (877) 822-4287

Special Topics

Clinical Trials

This website provides a wide range of information about participating in breast cancer clinical trials (why it’s important, myths and facts, types of studies, patient rights, etc.). It also offers a matching service for people interested in participating in a trial.
Website: www.breastcancertrials.org

This service of the National Institutes of Health provides general information about clinical trial development, patient participation and protections and much more.
Website: www.clinicaltrials.gov

This website includes information about the types of clinical trials, benefits, drawbacks and costs, sponsorship of trials, eligibility, questions to ask and informed consent. It also includes a list of sites that provide information on specific clinical trials and matching services.
Website: ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/ClinicalTrials.html

Inflammatory breast cancer

This national organization focuses on information about inflammatory breast cancer with an emphasis on education and research.
Website: www.ibcresearch.org

BreastCancer.org provides information on a number of topics, including inflammatory breast cancer. The website features a discussion board for people affected by inflammatory breast cancer.
Website: www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/inflammatory

Metastatic breast cancer

This nonprofit patient advocacy organization is dedicated to the unique concerns of the women and men living with metastatic breast cancer. To help those living with stage IV breast cancer be their own best advocate, it provides education and information on treatments and coping with the disease.
Website: mbcn.org

Spanish Language Resources

This organization’s website offers sections for patients and families and for healthcare professionals, including information in Spanish.
Website: www.cancer.net/es

As part of the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Information Service provides information for patients, their families, the general public and health professionals. Information specialists are available to answer cancer-related questions in English and Spanish.
Website: cancer.gov/contact/contact-center
Phone: (800) 422-6237

This national organization provides women affected by breast and ovarian cancers with a variety of services, including a helpline and phone support groups (for young survivors, metastatic cancer, etc.). Services for Spanish-speaking women are available.
Website: www.sharecancersupport.org
Phone: (844) 275-7427

Young Survivors

This national organization provides information about issues unique to young women facing breast cancer and the people who support them. It offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.
Website: www.youngsurvival.org

Breast Cancer Information Websites

These websites provide educational materials on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Please use caution with general Internet searches; not all websites contain accurate information. Computers are available at UW Hospital's Breast Health Library, public libraries and Gilda's Club. In addition to reliable patient educational materials, many of these sites provide patient support services.

Based in Milwaukee, ABCD complements the work of healthcare providers by serving as a reliable, accessible and highly personalized resource for breast cancer support. Its signature breast cancer support service – One-to-One mentoring – is provided by trained volunteers who have personally experienced breast cancer. All services are free.
Website: www.abcdbreastcancersupport.org
Helpline: (800) 977-4121
Phone: (414) 977-1780

The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. It provides patient and family education and support, patient navigators, a cancer survivor network, transportation and free medical equipment for cancer patients.
Website: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html
Phone: (800) 227-2345

This organization’s website offers sections for patients and families and for healthcare professionals, including information in Spanish. Topics covered include: cancer types, diagnosis and treatments, coping, survivorship, advocacy and policy, and news and events.
Website: www.cancer.net/cancer-types/breast-cancer

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world. Its mission is to advance quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.
Website: www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reconstruction.html

BreastCancer.org helps women and their loved ones make sense of complex information about breast cancer so they can make the best decisions for them.
Website: www.breastcancer.org

This website provides reliable, in-depth information about breast cancer and related women's health issues.
Website: www.imaginis.com

As part of the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Information Service provides information for patients, their families, the general public and health professionals. Information specialists are available to answer questions in English and Spanish.
Website: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast
Phone: (800) 422-6237

This organization is an alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education that improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives.
Website: www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/cancers.aspx#breast

The About Breast Cancer section of the Susan G. Komen website provides information about diagnosis and treatment, risk factors and screening, and a wide range of other topics, including complementary therapies, life after treatment and quality medical care.
Website: ww5.komen.org