In the U.S., more than 2.8 million women have a history with breast cancer and are either being treated or have finished treatment.
Tiffani Ross’ aunt is one of them.
“My aunt had breast cancer and had a mastectomy and then reconstructive surgery,” said Ross. “It’s close to home for me.”
So close that Ross, a former student in OSU Institute of Technology’s Orthotics & Prosthetics Technologies program, has enrolled in a specialty course that will allow her to help more women like her aunt.
OSUIT’s Orthotics & Prosthetics Technologies program is offering a one-day post-mastectomy fitter course on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The course will be held at OSU Center for Health Services’ Forensic Science & Biomedical Research Building, 1111 W. 17th St., in Tulsa. The cost is $50, and breakfast and lunch are provided.
Jennifer Block, director of the Orthotics & Prosthetics Technologies program, said the course is designed for those interested in providing clinical services to clients needing post-mastectomy prosthetic management.
The course meets the requirement of the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc., for certified mastectomy fitter eligibility.
The one-day course will cover topics including anatomy and physiology of the breast; mastectomy options; benefits and drawbacks of different surgical options; treatment options for breast cancer; role of the certified fitter in post-mastectomy management; and common types and styles of mastectomy garments and breast prostheses.
“Candidates for this training don’t need any prior experience but should have the desire to work with breast cancer survivors to improve their physical and emotional well-being,” Block said. “It’s also appropriate for those who may not want to work in the O&P field but wish to become better educated about post-mastectomy management in order to provide support and advocacy for family and friends.”
Ross said she wants to take the course so she can better help others.
“I want to be a person who makes a difference is somebody’s life,” she said. “Being diagnosed with cancer has to be one of the most terrifying things to go through. I just want to help with that process.”
Block said one-day courses like the post-mastectomy fitter course give working professionals the opportunity to expand their skills without having to commit to long-term training.
“It allows participants to complete the industry-specific training they desire in a convenient format and encourages new students to enter the field because it minimizes the time and financial investment required to receive the required education,” she said.
Ross said offering short-term courses gives her the opportunity to continue her education in the O&P field while also raising a son.
“It’s so helpful. With my son—he’s healthy, but he sees a lot of specialists. It’s been a struggle staying in school,” she said. “It really makes a difference to offer a one-day or four-day course. I know I can make it to that.”