The Division of Nursing of the New York University School of Education today launched Journey To Recovery: For Women with Breast Cancer and their Partners, a series of unique instructional videos designed to help women and men cope with the severe stress of the breast cancer experience.
The videos were developed by NYU Division of Nursing Professors Carol Noll Hoskins and Judith Haber, with the assistance of Wendy Budin, New Jersey Breast Cancer Visiting Scholar.
The videos are based on Dr. Hoskins’ intensive four-year study of how 121 couples dealt with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The study first documented couples’ differing emotional needs during each of the four treatment phases. The study also documented the critical factors that promote physical and emotional well-being for both patients and partners.
Most notably, the study found that breast cancer patients often adjust better emotionally than their male partners. The study also found that male partners often enter periods of acute anxiety and distress just as patients are finally growing more hop eful. Narrated by Willow Bay, host of ABC’s Good Morning America Sunday, the four-tape series guides couples through each phase of the disease and its treatment. Tape 1 helps couples cope with the diagnosis. Tape 2 walks couples through recovering from surgery. Tape 3 tackles the issues of adjuvant therapy radiation, chemotherapy and/or hormone treatment. And Tape 4 emphasizes the importance of the ongoing recovery process. Over the course of the four tapes, viewers meet real c ouples dealing with breast cancer and learn how they are coping. In addition, the tapes provide advice and information from health care professionals.
All proceeds from the sale of the videos will be devoted to additional breast cancer research by the NYU Division of Nursing.
Dr. Hoskins said, “In our research, we found that the physical and emotional adjustment of most breast cancer patients and their partners can be greatly enhanced by education, effective communication and support that is sensitive to needs as they vary acr oss the phases of illness.
“We believe these couples can be helped by filling their pressing need for information about the disease, its treatment and how to cope with the stress it puts on their relationship. That’s what these videos are all about. The tapes will give breast c ancer patients and their partners much needed peace of mind. We want to thank all of the people who appeared in these tapes for donating their time. We are deeply appreciative of their generosity. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude.”
Dr. Haber said, “Journey to Recovery speaks to women, to their partners and to them as a couple, guiding them through each phase of the breast cancer experience. It brings much needed clinical research to life in a way that helps couples more effe ctively cope with breast cancer.”
Willow Bay, who narrated the series, states in the introduction to the first tape, “If you or your partner have breast cancer, you’re probably wondering just how you can cope, how you can make the best choice for treatment, how you can ensure you’ll get t he best possible care. This program will help you find some of those answers.”
Breast cancer survivor Linda Rasero and her husband Bob are one of the couples featured in Journey to Recovery. Ms. Rasero was first diagnosed in December 1991. She completed her chemotherapy in July, 1992. Ms. Rasero said, “Breast cancer brough t tremendous loneliness and confusion into our lives. I felt alone as a person, and we felt alone as a couple. The result was that we sometimes struggled to talk about how the disease and its treatment affected our lives. And you really do need to talk about these things, about your recovery, your sexuality and what the future will hold.
“I think these tapes would have been really good for us. We would have had more insight as to the road we were going to have to travel. They would have reassured us that couples really can come out on the other side with their lives still intact.”
Bob Rasero said, “Linda had great medical care. She really did. But there were still many times when I wasn’t totally clear on what was going on. So often, I felt like I wanted to know more about what the risks were and how our life was going to change . The medical people were honest and helpful, but they can only spare three minutes or so at a time.”
Dr. Roy Ashikari — a leading breast surgeon from Saint Agnes Hospital in White Plains, New York — said “This series of videos is unique and critically important. In recent years, we have become extremely good at diagnosing and treating breast cancer. Unfortunately, we lag behind at helping patients and their partners cope with the emotional impact of the disease and its effect on their relationships. These videotapes are going to bring a lot of emotional relief to a lot of people.”
Journey To Recovery is being distributed to women’s health centers, oncology offices, hospitals, cancer centers, educational institutions and the home video market. Production has been under the direction of Lisa Moss at Euro Pacific Film & Video Productions, Inc. The series will be marketed and distributed by Films For The Humanities & Sciences, North America’s leading distributor of multimedia products to schools and health practitioners.
Frank J. Batavick — Films for the Humanities and Sciences’ vice president for acquisitions said, “We are delighted to have acquired the exclusive distribution rights to Journey To Recovery. This highly professional and timely series promises to be a fine addition to our many health education titles.”The tapes will be available in January, 1998. For additional product information, Films for the Humanities and Sciences can be reached at 1-800-257-5126.
Carol Noll Hoskins PhD, RN, is a professor at the NYU Division of Nursing, and is a highly regarded expert on the psychological and physical consequences of breast cancer. Dr. Hoskins is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
Judith Haber, PhD, RN, CS, is a visiting professor at the NYU Division of Nursing. She is an internationally recognized family therapist who specializes in helping families cope with the psychosocial aspects of catastrophic illness. Dr. Haber is a fello w of the American Academy of Nursing.
Wendy Budin, PhD, RN, received a New Jersey Breast Cancer Visiting Scholar Award, which allowed her to continue working with Dr. Hoskins. Dr. Budin is an assistant professor of nursing at Seton Hall University. She was a member of Hoskins’ research team , along with two other members of the NYU Division of Nursing faculty: Deborah Sherman, PhD, RN, and Sonia Baker, PhD, RN.