COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, about 255,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,300 in men. Now, one Columbus doctor is doing what she can to help women have a better understanding about their diagnoses.

Dr. Melanie Crutchfield-Whitten is the only female Breast Surgical Oncologist in Columbus. She is hosting the first annual Supporting, Surviving and Thriving Breast Cancer Retreat in July at Callaway Gardens Resort and Spa. The retreat is designed to help women tackle the personal aspects of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The reason why I decided to do it is when I was leaving my job in Atlanta I had a significant number of patients who we were discussing things that were more for the survivorship aspect. Such as, their emotional health, financial health, sexual health, things of how they can get to their new normal,” said Dr. Crutchfield-Whitten.

Dr. Crutchfield-Whitten is a Columbus native and has been practicing medicine for the past six years in various places. She said she moved back to the Fountain City to give back to the community that gave so much to her.

She said the retreat is meant to be treated as a weekend of self care where attendees can stay at the resort, do spa treatments and attend workshops as a way to treat themselves physically and emotionally.

There will be speakers that will guide attendees through the changes their bodies may be experiencing like the side effects of certain medications and massaging techniques that alleviates the effects of radiation.

“After you’re given the diagnosis of cancer, what happens next once you’re treated? Once you get over the fact- ‘oh woah I didn’t die but now I have to live and how do we live that best life?’. So that is what we’ll be doing at the retreat,” said Dr. Crutchfield-Whitten.

The retreat is open to anyone who is currently going through treatment for breast cancer and for those who have gone through treatment in the past. Dr. Crutchfield-Whitten said the retreat will aim to make those with breast cancer more comfortable by giving them a safe space and an opportunity to ask questions to medical professionals.

If interested in attending, please visit www.sstcancerretreat.com.