SAN DIEGO and HOUSTON, Nov. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Steps Through OC today announces the launch of its national pilot program to support women and their families through the unique challenges they face following an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Steps Through OC provides free access to professional counseling, patient education, psychosocial support, vetted referrals and science-based resources, all customized to individual needs.
Each Steps Through OC participant is matched with a counselor who holds a 360-degree view of the person's clinical situation, concerns and desires. Counselors have master's degrees and experience in ovarian cancer advocacy and oncology social work. The program begins with six months of individual counseling and education, which can continue for as long as participants need support. Services are free of charge and available nationally to any woman who has ever had ovarian cancer, her family and caregivers, at any phase of an ovarian cancer experience. Steps Through OC plans to enroll up to 150 participants in its yearlong pilot phase and expand with additional funding and strategic partnerships.
Steps Through OC merges expertise in ovarian cancer science, treatment management and psychology from The Clearity Foundation, which hosts the program, and Susan Poorman Blackie Ovarian Cancer Foundation (SPB Foundation), which is a seed funder. The two organizations collaborated to create a program combining professional psychosocial care with credible, practical information and resources specific to ovarian cancer—a disease that is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, often recurs, and requires long-term support for survivors and caregivers.
"An ovarian cancer diagnosis is a highly personal experience that can impact women not only physically, but emotionally, socially and spiritually as well. Women need proactive support that meets all of these needs and is based on information they can trust," said Hillary Theakston, executive director of Clearity Foundation, which for 10 years has provided science-based treatment information to patients. "Steps Through OC helps people live with ovarian cancer on their terms. The program guides participants toward relevant information paired with counseling that enhances their resilience and stress-coping skills so they can feel, function and live well with ovarian cancer."
"In spite of outstanding medical care, financial resources and clinical support, our family struggled through my mom's ovarian cancer experience. Even as a professional counselor, I didn't know how to start talking with her and others in my family about the profound and painful issues we were facing," said Buck Dodson, president and executive director of SPB Foundation.
Dodson, a licensed therapist, was compelled by the opportunity to ease psychological and physical stressors for women and families confronting ovarian cancer. SPB Foundation invested in more than a year of research and interviews with individuals affected by ovarian cancer. "We asked members of the ovarian cancer community what actions we could take to improve quality of life for anyone who has been plunged into this bewildering situation. Their insights informed the design of Steps Through OC," Dodson said. "Steps Through OC offers personalized support from someone who's informed about the specifics of their disease, picks up where medical providers and general resources leave off, and holds a big-picture view to help guide the way through symptoms, emotions, information and decisions that can seem overwhelming."
Registration for Steps Through OC is available online at www.stepsthrough.org or by calling (866) 830-5134 (toll free).
About Steps Through OC
Steps Through OC is a free, national support system of professional counseling and education with an exclusive focus on ovarian cancer. All resources offered to patients, their families and caregivers are unbiased, based in science, vetted by ovarian cancer specialists, delivered thoughtfully and tailored to each person's unique situation. Mental health professionals synchronize education, resources, referrals and counseling to help people feel, function and live well. Call (866) 830-5134 (toll free) or visit www.stepsthrough.org to register.
SOURCE The Clearity Foundation