Breast cancer awareness is about more than pink ribbons. Yes, we said it! It’s more than telling the world that breast cancer merely exists. We all undoubtedly know that it exists, and we likely all know someone touched by breast cancer. And yet, time and again, we hear patients say, “I wish I had known.” Because there is so much about breast cancer that goes unspoken.
So, we decided to ask our network, “What would you like to share about your diagnosis that is not a well-known aspect of breast cancer?” And they delivered.
It can happen at any age.
“You can get breast cancer in your 20s. Not a lot of people are aware of this.” - Katharina
Side effects can be long-lasting.
“Not every treatment goes well, and side effects can be devastating.” – Missy
“Secondary lymphedema, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy and brain fog are with me over 6 years later.” – Janet
“Treatments have such different and lasting side effects.” - Beverley
Metastatic breast cancer is incurable.
“Sometimes the cancer isn’t curable. ‘Fighting’ cancer can be poor language to those diagnosed.” – Lori
“People (family/friends) abandon you.” - Beverley
Reconstruction isn’t perfect.
“If you had a double mastectomy, and [you’re] planning on reconstruction, take a before picture of your breasts before mastectomy for possible nipple tattoo after. So you might be able to get them to look similar. I know it is the last thing you would want to think about, but if you liked them, you can’t even try to describe what they looked like. To date, I have none.” – Joanne
Recurrence is real.
“Post-treatment, keep doing breast/chest and under arm/s self-exams. I have caught 4 early lobular recurrences in my skin.” – Christine
Your perspective on life will change forever.
“My diagnosis came at a time in my life when I had just been packaged out of my job of 28 yrs. I was depressed and as strange as this may sound, I embraced my diagnosis while terrified at the same time. It gave me focus and became my new ‘job’. I hate to say this as I know many women struggle greatly through treatment and are still living with cancer, or worse, succumb to it. I was fortunate to get by relatively unscathed. Treatments are customizable and meds can be given to offset side effects. Not everyone has awful experiences and I know how fortunate I am to be one of those people. I feel very guilty saying that, but it is the truth.” - Tracy