If October makes you cringe a bit, you aren’t alone.
For many survivors and co-survivors, October’s breast cancer awareness campaigns are a constant reminder of what you have been through and may still be going through. We call it the “collateral damage” of breast cancer – the sometimes unspeakable side effects of cancer treatments that we accept as the price of survival. Survivors live with the collateral impact of breast cancer every day of the year, not just in October. But this month, we take extra time to share our stories with hopes of spreading awareness of the true impact of breast cancer and inspiring action.
- – This year, when you see the pink, remember there are 35 women under age 40 every day who hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”
- – More than 71 women under age 45 are diagnosed each day.
- – Survivors face real issues that often last long after the treatments have ended. And we still don’t have a cure for women with metastatic breast cancer.
We need answers.
During October, YSC will share the true stories of young survivors and the impact that breast cancer has on them and their co-survivors. We will share a new survivor’s story every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Stories about early menopause, diagnosis while breastfeeding, raising young children through treatments, changes in relationships, intimacy issues, body image, financial challenges, career and fertility impacts. This is a sisterhood that no one asks to join, but once you are a member, you know you have sisters for life.
You can also be part of the solution.
Last year, we began a partnership with Dr. Susan Love, a pioneer in breast cancer research, and Susan G. Komen to drive REAL CHANGE as part of the Health of Women (HOW) Study. Young survivors shared the collateral damage of breast cancer and we encouraged survivors and co-survivors to sign up for the HOW study.
The HOW Study is the first international online study for breast cancer. It is being conducted by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF) in collaboration with Leslie Bernstein, PhD, of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. The groundbreaking study has a goal of tracking 200,000 women over time with the objective of identifying new risk factors and potential causes of breast cancer. It will also examine women and men with breast cancer, including those living with metastatic disease, to identify factors that are linked to long-term survival and the impact of treatments on their lives. Invite your family and friends to be part of the answer to ending this disease and join the HOW Study.
As we all face the pink of October together, know that there is real action underway, and all women (diagnosed with breast cancer or not) can make a difference with the HOW Study.