Tuesday, October 9, 2012
To our readers, Each Tuesday inOctober, the staffs of The Record in Troy andThe Saratogian inSaratoga Springs will jointly publish this spe-cial pink edition filledwith information about breast cancer aware-ness that we hope willboth inform you andinspire you.Some of you havealready sent alongideas for stories andinformation on fundraising events that you want us to publishin our National Breast Cancer Awareness Month special sections. However, please knowwe welcome all storyidea suggestions andare happy to add anynew events to our calen-dar of events. Please know we arealso happy to publish photos of the variousevents planned in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Your informationmay be sent to Editor Lisa Robert Lewis viaemail at firstname.lastname@example.org feel free to call her at 518-270-1276.
Helping those battling cancer
Cancer unit director hosts event in memory of sister-in-law
By Kathryn Caggianelli
– When Ballston Sparesident Sabrina Mousseau losther sister-in-law and best friendKaren Jensen Mousseau tobreast cancer in 2005 she vowedto do whatever she could to fur-ther the work being done locallyto provide integrative wellnesstherapies to others stricken withcancer.Karen, a lifetime RensselaerCounty resident who grew up inNassau, was the mother of twochildren and just 38 years oldwhen she lost her battle withbreast cancer — less than twoyears after being diagnosed withthe disease.Integrative therapies, includingnutritional and psychosocialcounseling, Reiki, massageacupuncture, healing touch, guid-ed imagery, prayer and journalingallowed Karen to live her life bet-ter with cancer, said Mousseau,whose career includes 16 yearsof oncology nursing.“Before Karen passed shechallenged us to provide thoseservices to others,” she said.“She grew up right here in Nas-sau and left behind family andfriends who wanted to helpachieve her vision”So Mousseau, now administra-tive director of Medical Oncologyat Samaritan Hospital, with assis-tance from Karen’s family andfriends, founded a fundraiser,“Toast to Karen” six years ago inher memory as a way to raisemoney to cover the costs associ-ated with providing those thera-pies to other cancer victims.Theyturned their focus to SamaritanHospital Cancer Center as thehub for delivering these services.“It was the logical choice,”Mousseau said. “It’s a center ofquality where all team members– nurses, therapists, administra-tion and support staff alwayspush to do more, to do better andto transform oncology care sothat it’s centered around thepatient.”In the years since its inception,the fundraiser’s name haschanged to “Visions of Strength”to represent the people the cam-paign serves.“They are the true heroes,”Mousseau explained. “They arethe people who give those of uswho work in the medical field thestrength and joy to continue to dowhat is right each day.”Toast to Karen in 2006 raisedmore than $15,000. Last year,Visions of Strength raised morethan $55,000 and the momentumcontinues to grow.“Proceeds from these fundrais-ers go directly to the IntegrativeWellness Service Line,”Mousseau said. “We providemassage therapy, healing touch,myotherapy, nutritional counsel-ing and psychosocial counselingto those who need it free ofcharge.”Mousseau and the team like-wise work with health careproviders in the community to off-set the costs associated with lesstraditional services such as Reikiand acupuncture.“We support our communitynon-profit partners that providesupportive services to ourpatients,” she said. “Thesemodalities are not covered byinsurance plans and patientsoften cannot afford them.In her years as a nurse,Mousseau has been on the front-lines of cancer a majority of thetime. She is passionate aboutmaking the lives of those with thedisease better. And she is alsopassionate about prevention.“It is heartbreaking for mewhenever I hear people shrug offan annual mammogram orprostate screening becausethese give us an opportunity tocatch cancer at its earliest stagesand the best chance of saving alife,” Mousseau said. “We havescreenings for breast cancer,prostate cancer, colon cancer,cervical and testicular cancer.Self exams are so important,too.”That these tests are cost-pro-hibitive for many people shouldnot be a deterrent, she said.“We can do free mammo-grams, ultrasounds and otherscreenings. There are programsfor that. We need to better getthe message out about that, aswell as how important it is forpeople of all ages, eventeenagers, to do self exams,”Mousseau said.She recalled a recent case oflate-stage testicular cancer in aman in his early 20s.Genes play a role in a person’spredisposition for cancer but arenot an exclusive risk factor.“Karen had no family history ofbreast cancer,” she said. “Wesee cancer in patients of all ages,regardless of heredity.”For Mousseau, the shock andfear accompanying a diagnosis ofcancer is something that evenshe is not immune to. Sherecalled how Karen’s phone callaffected her.
Cancer survivor benefits from support group and Tour de Art
By Kathryn Caggianelli
– Marie Graham,68, of Loudonville was diag-nosed with breast cancer morethan two decades ago whentreatment options were lesssophisticated than what theycurrently are and mastectomieswere an accepted way to dealwith the disease.A native of North Redding,Mass., she moved to the Capi-tal District in 1978 and began acareer in retail sales that wouldspan more than 20 years.Graham doesn’t recall at whatstage her cancer was discov-ered but was told by doctorsafter testing that she had a“good size lump” and was giventhe option of a mastectomy fol-lowed up by six months ofchemotherapy.“Back then, that’s how theytreated my .kind of breast can-cer. I decided to have a mastec-tomy and after surgery was toldthe cancer hadn’t spread,” shesaid.But the radical surgery alsoincluded removal of all of thelymph nodes in her arms, as aprecaution. Years later, Grahamoccasionally suffers from sideeffects of the procedure, suchas severe swelling of her armsand cellulitis.Still, she considers that asmall price to pay for survivinga formidable disease that in theU.S. is diagnosed in approxi-mately 229,000 women and2,200 men every year and isthe second largest cancer killer,according to the American Can-cer Society.Graham’s friend SandraWood, also a Bay State trans-plant who resided in Watervlietand was her neighbor for atime, wasn’t so lucky. Wood losther battle with cancer last yearafter eight years in remission.“Her breast cancer returnedand then she was diagnosedwith another cancer she didn’tsurvive,” Graham said.Both women fought their bat-tles with breast cancer with thesupport of their families andfriends. And they were amongthe first members to join Circleof Hope, a non-profit organiza-tion in Albany founded to offersupport and assistance towomen who are diagnosed withbreast cancer or in remission.Last year, after losing herfriend, Graham was asked tobecome a board member of Cir-cle of Hope.“I was so honored to beasked,” she said. “Circle ofHope has been a wonderfulhelp to me and I know howmuch it can help other women.”Circle of Hope was foundedin 2004 to bring breast cancersurvivors together so they cangain confidence and strength bysharing their experience withothers who are going throughthe same thing, according toinformation found at www.crcir-cleofhope.org.Graham has counseled anumber of women through theyears, simply by sharing herown story. One of the most fre-quently asked questions sheanswers is how she handled theside effects of her treatment,she said.“When women come to thisgroup for the first time they arefull of fear about their cancer,”Graham said. “But after we alltalk about what we’ve beenthrough, and I am called upon alot because I‘ve been survivingfor 20 years now, they start tofeel more confident about han-dling it.”Graham in November will cel-ebrate her 50th weddinganniversary with her husbandDonald.“When I first found out I hadbreast cancer I never imaginedI would be around to see my50th wedding anniversary. But Icouldn’t have done it withoutthe support of my husband, mydaughter, the rest of my familyand friends. A support group ofany kind is so important.”Plastic Surgeon StevenLynch, a Troy native, has dis-covered breast cancer in abouta dozen of his breast reductionpatients. For the 4,000 breastreductions he’s performed thatnumber is still staggering.“Breast cancer can strike ayoung woman of 20 as well as awoman who’s 90 years old,”said Lynch, whose practice iswith The Plastic Surgery Groupat 1365 Washington Avenue inAlbany. “You want to catch it atStage 1, before it has a chanceto spread anywhere and thereis the best possible chance oftreating it.”“Don’t ever ignore a lump ofany size, no matter how small,”he added.As of now, there really is nocure for breast cancer, Lynchsaid. Therefore early detectionremains the best weapon in
Mike McMahon photo
Sabrina Mousseau is administrative director of Medical Oncology atSamaritan Hospital in Troy. Mousseau lost her sister-in-law and breastfriend Karen Jensen Mousseau to breast cancer in 2005.
Visions of Strengthevent slated Oct. 18
The sixth annual Visions ofStrength, an annual fundraiserheld in conjunction with theKaren L. Mousseau Fund, is slat-ed for Oct. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. atThe Hilton Garden Inn, 235Hoosick St. in Troy.This year's event, sponsoredby the U.W. Marx ConstructionCompany, will feature a winetasting and silent auction.Along with offering a variety ofwines and vintners, the fundrais-er will boast a selection of uniqueitems as part of the silent auc-tion, including exclusive pack-ages valued at more than $1,000each.A weekend stay in Lake Placid,Yankees Legacy Club tickets to2013 games (with private park-ing), assorted sports memorabiliaand a private wine dinner foreight at Arlington House in WestSand Lake are some silent auc-tion items.Tickets are $60. For moreinformation or to attend call 518-271-3500.
SeeVISIONS, Page 3
Circle of Hope board member Marie Graham of Loudonville, left,poses with her friend Sandra Wood of Watervliet, who later died of cancer.
See SUPPORT, Page 3
“When women come to this group for the first time they are full of fear about their cancer,”Graham said. “But after we all talk about what we’ve been through, and I am called upon a lot because I‘ve been surviving for 20 years now,they start to feel more confident about handling it.”
A Loudonville resident, breast cancer survivor andboard member of Circle of Hope