Breast Cancer Survivors

According to the American Cancer Society there are over two million breast cancer survivors in the United States today. It's a very good thing that women are wonderful at sharing personal information and helping each other out with a statistic which dominates our landscape.

There are dozens of great books and videos that are written by women living with breast cancer. The common thread within each title is the personal experience and the invaluable inspiration of being transformed from victim into survivor.

Many offer practical advice about what is important to discuss with your doctor, how to talk with loved ones about your breast cancer, how to come to terms with your breast cancer surgery and how your life can be fulfilled by using your personal experiences with breast cancer in constructive ways. Breast cancer has a way of injecting an intense desire to live life to the fullest every day. Too bad we need such adversity to bring us to this point.

You may decide to join a breast cancer survivor's group in your community. There are many different groups to choose from. Some groups focus the group's attention on a physical activity like dragon boating or rowing. Some engage in arts and crafts. Others are professionally lead groups that focus on talking and writing. All include sharing and support. Check at your local cancer society or with your medical professionals for a list of organizations near you.

The following videos may provide you with insight and inspiration:

My Left Breast (2000)

No Hair Day: Laughing (and Crying) Our Way Through Breast Cancer

The following book that has an excellent review:

Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors

The Young & The Breastless

TBS Editor's Note: I recently attended The Young and Breastless networking event in Vancouver, Canada. Yes, young women, very young women in fact do get breast cancer. Facing very different life challenges, from the older breast cancer survivor, young women are starting to speak up and reach out to each other. The following media release is slightly dated yet provides evidence of the ground swell of advocacy for young women facing this disease.

August 2000- Breast Cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women 20-39 and the leading cause of death in women 35-40. One in every 250 women between the ages of 25-30 will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Young Survival Coalition is the only national organization whose focus is on the issues surrounding breast cancer in women 40 and younger; including higher mortality rates, fertility issues, early menopause and the lack of research studies on pre-menopausal women with breast cancer.

Founded in 1998 when three female breast cancer survivors, all under the age of 35, met in New York City to discuss their needs. The organization has developed a website (www.youngsurvival.org), attended breast cancer advocacy conferences, lobbied on Capitol Hill, spoke at universities, colleges and health fairs and begun an OBGYN campaign to raise awareness among physicians and surgeons that young women can and do get breast cancer.

Today, the Young Survival Coalition is a nationwide group of more than 350 volunteers and breast cancer advocates. According to Cindy Rubin, President of the Young Survival Coalition, We have been overwhelmed by the interest the media, the breast cancer community and young women with breast cancer have shown in the Young Survival Coalition. Clearly the many needs of young women with breast cancer are not being met right now and the Young Survival Coalition is working to change that.

The Young Survival Coalition is changing the face of breast cancer by advocating increasing the number of research studies for young women with breast cancer, educating young women about the importance of early detection and self-breast examination and being a point of contact for young women with breast cancer

Source: Media Release/Young Survival Coalition; www.youngsurvival.org.

In Canada : The Young and the Breastless; www.theyoungandthebreastless.ca

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Breast Cancer Survivors