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Breast Cancer Support

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When Mary Nagy was diagnosed with breast cancer -- the support from her husband, family and friends was vital.

"Just having those people behind me and knowing that they were there, it was doable."

Mary needed two surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, which took a heavy toll on the mother of two.

"I truly thought Mary was going to die at one point," says mother Betty Priszynski.

But they dealt with Mary's cancer together. Her mom Betty and her sister Suzy helped with chores and errands.

"It was always just pick up the boys for her, keep them for a while, bring her dinner if she needed it. Or on a good day we go out shopping," says sister Suzy Rice.

Mary adds, "It would really take my mind off a lot of what was going on."

A new Kaiser Permanente study finds that close relationships can help breast cancer patients deal with pain and other physical symptoms better.

"Having more friends and family engaged with you actually led to those women having a better quality of life, a better physical quality of life."

Oncologist doctor Joanne Schottinger says she takes social support into consideration when treating patients.

"That we assess how much support they have and try to refer someone and help them if it looks like they need more."

Mary has been cancer-free now for more than 7 years.

Suzy: We did a lot of laughing.

Betty: We did.

Mary: We had to.Yeah, we still do.

And celebrates each day with her mom and sister by her side.

Women who had little or no positive social interactions were 3 times more likely to report a low quality of life and greater physical symptoms.

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