Experiencing the Story of Cancer 2

The statistics for breast cancer paint a broad picture. “One in Eight.”  “Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Friends.” “The most common cancer in all women.” “Nearly a quarter of a million new diagnoses each year.”

But when you look at that picture more closely, you can begin to see the unique brush strokes of individual stories. The “One in Eight” becomes a young mother who falls below the typical age for a breast cancer diagnosis and is now wondering what the future will be like if she isn’t there to raise her babies. “The most common cancer in all women” becomes an uncommon “new normal” for a woman who no longer recognizes the post-treatment person she sees in the mirror. The “Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Friends” becomes an army of supporters who have traveled the path before you and alongside you as you map your course to beat the monster whose name begins with “C.” The “Nearly a quarter of a million new diagnoses each year” becomes the “one-in-a-million” determination to fight with all you have to face cancer head-on and win.

“I had a dream after my cancer,” says Susan, a cancer survivor. “I wanted to help others feel good about themselves through color because that color gave me an energy and a positive way of feeling.” Susan is one of more than 4,400 people who have taken part in a special opportunity to showcase the unique stories hidden in the broad picture that is cancer. She is a contributor to Lilly Oncology on Canvas.

This beautiful collection of artwork is a partnership with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. Lilly Oncology on Canvas showcases the stories of cancer warriors, survivors and their families. Since its beginning in 2004, Lilly Oncology on Canvas has shared thousands of these incredible stories at hundreds of exhibitions.

Finding ways to help people whose lives are impacted by cancer has become a vital part of many cancer care programs. The positive impact of these opportunities is now supported with scientific research. The American Medical Association published a review of more than 27 studies in 2013. These studies followed more than 1,500 people living with cancer. The review determined art therapy has the potential to impact symptoms of pain, anxiety and depression, as well as overall quality of life.

Susan credits Lilly Oncology with empowering her. “It gives that outlet to tell your story through artwork and share it with other people.”

In March, Lilly Oncology on Canvas expanded this opportunity to include music and poetry. The goal is to provide even more outlets for people in the cancer community to express themselves, lift the spirit, honor the journey and inspire hope.

Each day, the care team at Park Ridge Health Cancer Services experiences these journeys with women who are bravely embracing hope. We connect with some at the very beginning of their journey through our Diagnostic Imaging Team and our Surgery Specialist Team. Others have us come alongside them as they look for ways to receive their care close to home at one of our four Infusion Centers. At each step of the journey, the Park Ridge Health Cancer Services team offers care to the whole person: body, mind and spirit, opening the opportunity for more stories to encourage and inspire.