As a speech language pathologist who teaches at Adelphi University, Cindy Arroyo knew about its Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. But after receiving her diagnosis in January 2006, she became intimately familiar with the "extremely helpful" group.

Today, the 51-year-old Oceanside resident not only volunteers for the hotline, she also speaks about awareness all over the community, most recently at a nursing home.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"The elderly population is often ignored, but they need to know the information, too," she says. One sage piece of advice Arroyo gives to anyone who receives a diagnosis: "Get a second opinion; be sure to take someone with you on appointments so they can help synthesize the information."

In addition, she says, "Keep doing the things that make you happy." For her, that included exercise, drumming, cooking and returning to work. "My family and friends, as well as students and colleagues, have kept me strong."