Cancer Support Community Provides Just That

With few, if any, symptoms during early stages, prostate cancer can advance without detection, with a diagnosis affecting one in eight men and killing one in 41 men each year. Screening and early detection is essential, leading to effective management. Men with a family history of prostate cancer or BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutations and African American men are most vulnerable.

Board Chair Phil Dipaola and his wife, Marilynn, have managed his cancer for over 11 years. Diagnosed in 2010, with the guidance of oncologists specializing in prostate cancer and the support groups at the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara (CSCVVSB), the Dipaolas have continued to enjoy their lives with family and friends. Fortunately, the Dipaolas were familiar with CSCVVSB, both as volunteers and supporters prior to his diagnosis. They knew exactly where to go for resources and support. Support groups at CSCVVSB offer caring, camaraderie, compassion, and insight for the cancer patient, as well as family and caregivers.

Specifically for prostate cancer, there are monthly support groups for the patients/survivors and other networking groups that include spouses and family members that open a dialog about the symptoms, side effects of treatment, and impact on relationships. Other groups may be cancer specific or have members with various cancers. Also offered are groups for caregivers, families, young adults, bereavement, a kid’s circle, and groups in Spanish. All groups at CSCVVSB are facilitated by mental health professionals and are free of charge for participants due to the financial support of donors, foundations, corporations, and fundraising events.

CSCVVSB also provides lifestyle programs (yoga, meditation, etc.) and cancer education workshops that bring the whole community together and promote knowledgeable and powerful patient advocacy. CSCVVSB believes “community is stronger than cancer.”

“The Cancer Support Community has been a key factor in my cancer survival,” says Phil Dipaola. “It has helped us gain a clearer perspective as to where cancer fits into our lives.” Marilynn Dipaola adds, “Speaking with people in the support group who had already experienced what we were going through helped to calm the fears and anxiety that often arise after a diagnosis of cancer.”

CSCVVSB’s September calendar includes education and events: Comedy Night, Chronic Blood Cancer, Prostate Cancer Workshop, Gynecological Cancer Workshop, and the annual Celebration of Hope virtual gala. For more information: CancerSupportVVSB.org or 805.379.4777.