The Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes (CRCFL) is a well-established cancer support organization serving individuals in and around Tompkins County. While our services have evolved over the past twenty years, our mission remains rooted in our beginnings as the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance (IBCA).
We know that when a person is told, “You have cancer,” they and their loved ones need information, support and community.
While IBCA’s original programming was targeted to women with breast cancer, people with other cancers often asked for our assistance because there was no other cancer support organization in our area. We always provided that assistance to the best of our ability and, in 2007, the decision was made to expand the organization’s mission in order to serve women and men with all types of cancer. At the same time, we changed the name from the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance to the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes.
One potential concern about expanding our mission was the expectation that we would need to develop expertise on many different types of cancer. We quickly learned that we already had the expertise that most people wanted: how to communicate about cancer, how to find and evaluate information, and to connect with people affected by cancer. The commonalities between types of cancer were more apparent than the differences.
We also learned that, by expanding our mission, we were better able to serve women with breast cancer. Our programming expanded because we were able to involve a greater critical mass of individuals affected by cancer. For example, in a small community the size of Ithaca, it would be difficult to maintain a group for individuals with metastatic breast cancer, but it is possible to maintain a group for individuals with all types of metastatic cancer.
One-to- One Assistance
Providing personalized assistance is our most important service. Nearly every day, someone come through our front door and says, “I was just diagnosed with cancer and I don’t even know what questions to ask.” What we do is begin by listening. We then answer questions, suggest resources, and share what we’ve learn from others who have come through our front door.
- Men’s Breakfast Club
- Women’s Noon Group
- New to Cancer Group
- Pat’s Group: Living with Cancer as a Chronic Disease:
- Young Adult Group
- Colorectal Group
A common occurrence during cancer treatment is hair loss. Our Boutique provides wigs, hats, scarves and other items – all free of charge.
Collaboration with Cornell Researchers
An innovative program connects the clients of the Cancer Resource Center with doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows engaged in cancer research at Cornell University. Each month, a seminar is led by a student about a current topic in cancer research. The presentation is in lay language, and the discussions between researchers and our clients is lively. A few students also become regular participants in some of our support groups.
Collaboration with Cayuga Medical Center
We work closely and on-site with the oncology programs at Cayuga Medical Center, providing assistance and support to cancer patients and their loved ones.
Gentle Yoga Class
A blend of stretching, relaxation, healing visualization, and meditation in a supportive group environment. The class is offered free of charge to those with cancer.
We maintain approximately 700 volumes of books and other resources on cancer, nutrition, wellness, and related topics. The catalog is now online.
Most people in treatment for cancer have multiple doctors, countless appointments, and stacks of paper. We’ve created notebooks to help individuals stay organized. They have multiple pockets for loose papers, a sheet for business cards, and other useful accessories.
A specially-trained group of volunteers work with clients who have financial concerns. The volunteers can organize paperwork, prioritize problems, identify resources, fill out forms, make phone calls, and generally makes things a little more manageable.
Cornell Campus to Campus Bus
Many individuals in from our area go to New York City for second opinions and specialized services. Thanks to the generosity of Cornell University, we are able to place cancer patients and a support companion on Cornell’s Campus-to-Campus bus when seats are available.
Our website (www.crcfl.net) has become a comprehensive and popular resource for cancer-related information. The scope ranges from cancer information in languages other than English to specific pages for different types of cancer to our guide to local support services to a history of breast cancer advocacy.
Our monthly E-news is a widely distributed newsletter that highlights upcoming programs in the community, CRCFL events, and provides links to noteworthy cancer news and cancer-related websites.