SHARE recently hosted a meet and greet luncheon for a group of Japanese breast cancer advocates interested in learning more about our programs and services. The invitation was spearheaded by Aiko Brody, SHARE’s Japanese breast cancer support group facilitator, and included nurses, administrators and not for profit leaders eager to learn about how SHARE operates.
During the two hour meeting, the Japanese women spoke with members of SHARE staff who answered questions and discussed their role in the organization. The group was particularly interested in SHARE’s unique approach to support groups and how it could be replicated in settings across Japan. Some of the women expressed that, while a small number of Japanese hospitals do offer support groups, attendance can be scarce and travel distance is also a barrier. As a result, many women rely on family and friends for support or simply do without.
Aiko Brody (center left) and Ivis Sampayo (center right) SHARE’s Senior Director of Programs
The women also opened up about how certain aspects of Japanese culture can make it difficult to reach out, as many women may opt to keep their breast cancer diagnosis a secret. As one participant explained, “Some people are afraid when they hear the word breast cancer, and don’t want to talk about it.”
Despite these challenges, the women were hopeful for the future. One nurse in the group noted that a few Japanese hospitals were starting to include more peer centered support in their medical teams, a trend she hopes will continue as the country continues to raise awareness about breast cancer.
Group photo of Japanese breast cancer advocates and SHARE staff
If you would like to learn more information about SHARE’s Japanese Support Group, or are interested in joining, visit https://www.sharecancersupport.org/calendar/support-groups/ or email [email protected]