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Fighting cancer with the right mental health support

UCLA Health Connect blog

Post Date:October 21, 2021 9:00 AM

A bilateral mastectomy. Postponement of a 400-guest wedding. Disruption to a marketing career. The unknown of how treatment would affect fertility.

Image of UCLA cancer researcher Dr. Valentina Ogaryan
Valentina Ogaryan, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology

Breast cancer patient Aileen Keshishian wanted help processing the cascade of losses she experienced after her diagnosis at 33. But visits to two different therapists left her feeling misunderstood.

But one day in fall 2018, as Keshishian sat in a recliner at UCLA Health Cancer Care in Burbank while an IV of chemotherapy drugs dripped into her arm, the right psychologist found her.

Valentina Ogaryan, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, stopped by the infusion suite to say hello to Keshishian. She offered to meet with her and explained that the services were available at no cost to her.

“I think I looked at the schedule for that day and noticed a young adult in her early 30s, already identifying that she may need additional support,” Dr. Ogaryan said. “I also noticed she was (also) Armenian. There were multiple factors that prompted me to introduce myself.”

Click here to read more about Dr. Ogaryan and the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology at the UCLA Health Connect blog.

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