With advances in early detection, treatment and support, more women than ever are surviving breast cancer. On today’s Around Atlanta episode, Rebecca Cowens-Alvarado, Executive Director at Turning Point Breast Cancer Rehabilitation joins the show to tell listeners about the numerous ways the nonprofit promotes recovery from breast cancer year-round through services, education, and overall compassion.
Cowens-Alvarado holds a Master of Public Health with a focus in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She began her public health career as a Chronic Disease Epidemiologist, responsible for analyzing data for the breast and cervical cancer early detection program. In her various roles with American Cancer Society (ACS), including Vice President of Health Systems, she led regional and national initiatives to improve cancer prevention, increase cancer screening and enhance access to cancer treatment.
TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation provides specialized and evidence-based rehabilitation for women and men with breast cancer, including physical therapy, exercise consulting, massage therapy, counseling and nutritional counseling and lymphedema detection, education and management. TurningPoint is unlike any clinic in the Southeast, and there are very few in the nation that focuses on the need for rehabilitation and physical therapy after breast cancer.
Services at TurningPoint range from physical therapy and exercise to counseling, education, massage therapy and nutrition. “Patients want to get back to their normal activities after being diagnosed with breast cancer or undergoing surgery,” explains Cowens-Alvarado. “But, side effects from treatment can sometimes hold them back. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can all affect the upper body and cause nerve damage, swelling, and soreness.” The three most common issues patients face after breast cancer treatment are neuropathy, lymphedema, and stiff, weak tissue. Breast cancer rehabilitation can help resolve or manage these types of symptoms.
TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation will be celebrating its 15th anniversary September 2019. Since opening the doors, the clinic has seen roughly 4,500 patients ranging from newly diagnosed to post-surgery. Most clientele are women, but they also see men who have the disease. The rehabilitation center began as a small clinic with one therapist, today nine physical therapists are onsite and many referrals come in weekly. “Our growing team means that we can see more patients,” states Cowens-Alvarado. “We expect to see more than 800 patients in 2019.”
Mandy services at TurningPoint are made possible by critical supporting events such as the annual Pink Affair. Taking place March 23, at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, the Pink Affair will feature a live and silent auction, dinner and dancing all with a Jazz 1920’s theme. “We rely on events like this,” states Cowens-Alvarado, “Proceeds from The Pink Affair directly benefit TurningPoint’s delivery of reduced-fee and complimentary services, community education and healthcare provider education.”
Tune into the podcast with the link above to hear a more in-depth description of services offered at TurningPoint. Visit www.myturningpoint.org for tickets to Pink Affair and more upcoming events.
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