Explore the PAVING program

Overview

Based on the principles of lifestyle medicine, PAVING the Path to Wellness is a 12-week program which provides education on the importance of physical activity, healthy eating, sleep, stress management, and the power of personal connections for individuals of all ages with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Participants in this program take each step together, and share personal strategies and solutions for positive lifestyle changes, both during and after treatment for breast cancer. The PAVING program empowers participants to adopt and sustain healthy habits for a lifetime. Participants benefit from the supportive, collaborative environment. The program is currently being offered in a virtual format.

The PAVING program for breast cancer survivors was developed by Amy Comander, MD in collaboration with Beth Frates, MD.

Program Details

PAVING Program: 12 Steps
PAVING Program: 12 Steps (Comander at al. AJLM 2021 Jan 29;15(3):242-248).

This 12-week program is designed to enhance your body, mind and spirit both after and during breast cancer treatment, with the goal to help you achieve your optimal level of wellness.

The PAVING program features guest speakers on numerous topics that are of importance for breast cancer survivors, including sexual health, physical therapy, behavioral health, integrative medicine (the role of yoga, acupuncture, and music therapy), nutrition, and culinary medicine.

Where: This program will be held virtually.

When: Twice a year (spring and fall), our next program will be offered in the Fall of 2022.

Cost: Free (The PAVING program has been generously funded by charitable contributions to the Mass General Cancer Center.)

Registration: To register and learn more, please email WellnessAfterCancer@partners.org.
Space is limited. Participants are encouraged to participate in the full 12-week program.

Group Leaders: Amy Comander, MD; Elizabeth Abraham, RN; Stephanie Eisenstat, MD; Dana Haggett, NP; and Hannah Lee, MS.

Workbook: View the PAVING the Path to Wellness workbook here. (Workbook is provided free to program participants.)

Alumni Newsletter: Our newsletter helps PAVING participants stay connected with one another after the program ends, and includes updates on events, participants' stories, recipes, wellness tips, and much more.

FAQs

Who can participate in the PAVING program?
Anyone treated for breast cancer in the Mass General Brigham system is eligible to join the PAVING program.

How long are the meetings?
We meet once a week for ninety minutes.

How large are the groups?
Exact sizes vary, but we generally have 10-12 members per group.

 

PAVING Program: Wellnes Wheel
PAVING Program: Wellness Wheel (Comander at al. AJLM 2021 Jan 29;15(3):242-248).

I finished radiation yesterday and leaving the Cancer Center I had a very different feeling than I’d had in the past. This time I felt ready to handle whatever is thrown at me. I felt empowered with information and support.

Tiffany Hogan
View Tiffany's story and video

Video: Surviving and Thriving After Breast Cancer

Learn more about the Paving program in this Mass General Blum Center presentation from October 25, 2022. Amy Comander, MD, Dana Haggett, NP, and Elizabeth Abraham, RN lead an interactive conversation to empower patients to adopt healthy behaviors. They are also joined by a patient who shares how she adopted these lifestyle habits after her breast cancer diagnosis.


Video: Tiffany's Story

Mass General Cancer Center patient Tiffany Hogan shares in her own words how the PAVING program supported her through breast cancer treatment.


Resources

Lifestyle Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine

Learn about the Cancer Center's Lifestyle Medicine program.

Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Survivorship

Learn about the Mass General Cancer Center Survivorship program.

Cancer Center Nutrition Services

Cancer Center Nutrition Services

Our team of Registered Dietitians provides evidenced based & expert nutrition counseling.

Center for Breast Cancer

Center for Breast Cancer

We provide comprehensive, compassionate care for patients with any stage of breast cancer.

Beth Frates, MD

Beth Frates, MD

Learn about Lifestyle Medicine expert Beth Frates, MD.


PAVING Participant Testimonials

"The PAVING program has been so important for me because it connected me to others who've gone through cancer treatment. My PAVING pals immediately understand what I'm talking about when I express a concern or fear. In fact, these are the only people I can talk to openly about breast cancer and that's been invaluable in helping me move forward in my life. Cancer will always be a part of my life but I want to keep it in perspective, and PAVING and my PAVING pals have helped me do just that."

“I am so very grateful for your course! It was amazing! I have made so many subtle but important lifestyle changes! I am feeling great as a result.”

“Thank you again for the program. I recently listed all the things I’ve changed in my life based on the program and recommended readings. I was amazed. I’ve changed so much for the better. Feels great!”

“Thirteen of us from our PAVING cohort were interested in continuing to meet. We had a Zoom call on Wednesday night and we shared our cancer journeys for about an hour and a half. It was magical and I can't put into words the support and camaraderie I felt. It was amazing! We are planning to meet in person in a few weeks and we will set a regular meeting on Zoom and in person (alternating) to continue to pursue wellness and learn and support each other. Thank you for all you do. You make a difference every single day.”

“Each week we explored one of the twelve elements of wellness. The support, expert resources and process of exploration were excellent. The knowledge and fresh perspectives that I gained have been truly life changing. I will be paying it forward and forever grateful to Dr Amy Comander, the PAVING Team and fellow participants for creating this amazing opportunity."

“Paving the Path reinforced everything I needed to do to get back to being healthy. Exercise and physical activity generally, nutrition, sleep… there are 12 different chapters, different things that we would do each week. It made you think about your purpose in life. I think for me what was really powerful with the group was to be able to share with people who've had a life-threatening experience. We were supportive of each other, which you’d get with any group of friends, but in this group everything was amplified because of everyone's experiences."

“It was really helpful to be able to converse with other people going through similar experiences and with experts who could talk with authority about the symptoms you’d be experiencing. It was great to have the camaraderie of the Paving the Path program group. It was really powerful."

Publication

Comander A, Frates B, Tollefson M. PAVING the Path to Wellness for Breast Cancer Survivors: Lifestyle Medicine Education and Group Interventions. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2021 Jan 29;15(3):242-248. doi: 10.1177/1559827620986066. PMID: 34025314; PMCID: PMC8120622.