CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – The MUSC Wellness Center hosted its first breast cancer survivor wellness expo on Saturday morning with vendors, speakers, specialists, yoga and breathing exercises.
There were 20 vendors and over 100 breast cancer patients and survivors who attended to learn more about the resources and information available to them.
Wellness Center Program Director Dr. Tatiana Baier and Dr. Katie Schmitt, a Hollings Cancer Center Physical Therapist, first thought of the idea together when they realized there are so many resources for survivors that are unknown to those going through treatment.
“We want to offer as much support as we can,” Baier said. “People go through a lot of procedures in their life. So, we want them to have access to the resources. We want them to know what’s good for them; and of course, we want them to have a long-term survivorship and stay healthy and well.”
The vendors varied from specific bras and underwear for patients, specialized MUSC departments, breast replacement options, nutritionists, acupuncture and other areas in the health and wellness area.
In her experience with breast cancer patients, Schmitt explained how many people going through treatments do not know who or where to turn to.
“You can see from today how much people need this and how they need to be able to come together,” Schmitt said. “They need to know what’s out there and they need to know they’re not alone.”
A researcher of Biochemistry who studies cancer cells and breathing exercises, Dr. Sundar Balasubramanian, spoke at the event about how breathing exercises can produce saliva to relieve breast cancer symptoms.
“The stress, anxiety, depression and many emotional fears can all be managed in multiple ways and breathing is one thing that can connect the mind,” Balasubramanian said. “So, if we have to say something to your mind, say to the breath. There’s something with breathing with your body.”
The goal of all three professionals at the wellness expo is to provide access to the most resources possible so all individuals facing breast cancer can feel at ease.
“We need to have a place where everyone knows where to turn,” Schmitt said. “You have this whole community and this whole family. Then they see, you’re not alone, and you get to be yourself again.”
In the future, the hope is to continue to build the MUSC Breast Cancer Wellness Expo, as well as encourage the rest of the nation to hold similar events.
“It is important for us to attract as many supporters in the breast cancer survivors community for years ahead of us to keep this event growing and for the survivors to know about it,” Baier said. “This is a safe place to come to have fun, get all their resources, and to use it for their health and wellness.”
For more information about the MUSC Wellness Program, visit MUSC’s website.
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