The Silver Lining in a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

September 19, 2013
By: Duke Health News

Like many women, Jean Costa found her breast cancer diagnosis to be the beginning of a journey.

During Jean Costa's treatment at the Duke Cancer Center, she was grateful for the support she received from the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program (DCSP). So grateful, in fact, that when she finished her treatment in 1999, she decided give back. “Because of the kindness and support I received during my treatment from the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, I was pleased and honored to become a member of their advisory board,” she says.

The cancer support program provides services and resources to help support patients and their loved ones throughout their experience with cancer. “We believe in treating the whole person, not solely the cancer,” says Cheyenne Corbett, PhD, director of the program.

Costa is a yoga instructor who has practiced for over 35 years. She knew the discipline could help other patients as it had helped her. “Yoga helps me be mindful and it helps me stay in touch with my body while making me feel strong, physically and emotionally. With this in mind I felt it would be the perfect vehicle for other breast cancer survivors,” she says.

So in 2005, Costa partnered with other volunteers to create the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat for women breast cancer survivors. It’s a four-day event held every year at a North Carolina beach. The retreat is sponsored by the DCPSP.

“Cancer is a scary word,” she says. “Healing comes when the mind, the body, and the spirit are nurtured, and that's what the retreat and the DCPSP provide.”