Facilitator Spotlight: Suzanne Levanas
This month we are spotlighting Suzanne Levanas, LCSW, BCD, OSW-C, Licensed Clinical Oncology Social Worker, and the facilitator for our new Breast Cancer Support Group at the Santa Monica clinic.
The Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology is pleased to announce the start of a Breast Cancer Support group in Santa Monica for women being treated for early stage breast cancer. As UCLA Oncology has expanded into local communities, the Center recognized the need for additional psychosocial support in the Santa Monica Oncology Clinics. Currently, mental health clinicians from the Simms/Mann Center are in the Santa Monica Hematology/Oncology clinics daily to provide individual support to patients and their families. The Breast Cancer Support group will be the Center’s first support group to be held off of the UCLA Westwood campus. The group will be for women who are currently in treatment at UCLA for early stage, non-metastatic breast cancer. It will meet weekly on Thursdays, from 10:00 – 11:30, am starting May 1, 2014 in the 2nd Floor Conference Room, 2020 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA. The purpose of the group is to provide an opportunity for women who are newly diagnosed or undergoing treatment to come together to share information, exchange ideas, discuss concerns, and offer and receive support.
As a licensed therapist and Certified Oncology Social Worker with a Board Certified Diplomate in Social Work, I will be facilitating the Breast Cancer Support group. I am one of the senior clinicians at the Simms/Mann Center and have been a staff member for almost 20 years as well as a member of the Santa Monica Breast Clinic Multidisciplinary team and a participant in the monthly Breast Cancer Tumor Board at Santa Monica Hospital. I work closely with many of the breast oncologists who see patients when they come to the Santa Monica Oncology clinic. Over the years, I have been able to facilitate breast cancer support groups for women in treatment and for individuals dealing with on-going issues related to having had breast cancer. I am a survivor of Hodgkin Lymphoma and Thyroid cancer and integrate my personal experience into my work with patients.
I am so excited to start this new Breast Cancer Support group in Santa Monica. My passion for working with women with breast cancer comes from my strong family history of breast cancer. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a teenager, followed by my aunt and cousins. At that time, there were few psychosocial resources available and we felt very alone. My hope is that women will come to this group and feel safe, supported, understood and empowered as they continue on their breast cancer journey.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be overwhelming and having other people to talk with who share similar experiences can be tremendously helpful. You are not alone. If you are newly diagnosed or going through treatment for early stage breast cancer and are being treated at UCLA, please come to the Breast Cancer Support group in Santa Monica. To foster a sense of community, group size is limited and regular attendance is encouraged.
For information or to enroll, please call the Simms/Mann Center for Integrative Oncology at (310) 794 – 6644 or email Suzanne at email@example.com. Pre-registration is required.