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The Gazette is partnering with title sponsor Penrose-St. Francis Breast Care Center and ribbon sponsor Peak Vista Community Health Centers to bring you inspiring stories of local breast cancer survivors and a behind-the-scenes look at the care process from physicians, surgeons, nurses and volunteers throughout October.

Cancer can strike anyone, anywhere, without much warning.

It bursts onto the scene of life uninvited, raising personal and existential questions patients might not be prepared to answer: “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “Why am I here?” “How will this change me?” Some patients seek answers in material or treatment, while others search for emotional and spiritual guidance.

At Penrose-St. Francis Health Services and the Penrose Cancer Center, patients are offered physical, emotional and spiritual treatment and healing. Penrose Cancer Center is part of the Centura Health Cancer Network, delivering advanced, integrated cancer care across Colorado and western Kansas.

As a faith-based institution, Penrose-St. Francis believes in the importance of helping patients see the relationship between spiritual and emotional struggles and disease. A team of well-trained chaplains and health professionals is ready to help patients navigate cancer by combining world-class medical treatment and compassionate faith healing and guidance.

No two cancer patients walk the same path, though some aspects of their journeys are universal. Understanding the below principles can help patients and their loved ones navigate a cancer battle:

• Cancer will make you a different person. Cancer works like a reset button for life, changing priorities and shifting perspectives.

• Value the ordinary. Cancer patients repeatedly express how little moments in life become more valuable like never before.

• Life is about relationships. Cancer is never meant to be journeyed alone and it is difficult to bear even with the best support systems and relationships.

• Discover incredible, inner strengths. Cancer, like any disease, demands a lot from patients, families and friends, who often discover their true resiliency, determination and courage.

• Tune in to someone who is a role model of spiritual well-being. People who are open to trust and hope process life differently.

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