I found a lump after I was weaning my daughter from breast feeding. . . . I thought I was going in (to see my Doctor) for what probably was a clogged milk duct, and turned out to be stage III breast cancer. . . . I knew no one in their mid‑30s, like I was, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, with children at home. . . . I still remember telling my doctor, “Do what you need to do. Cut off my arms or my legs. I just need to be here for my girls.” – Brooke, Firefly Participant
Young women, like Brooke, can and do get breast cancer. And when they do, they often face challenges that older women do not. Challenges such as:
- Early menopause and sexual problems caused by treatment
- Fertility issues that affect the ability to have children
- Raising small children while going through treatment
- Financial stability due to insurance and health care costs
- Career and professional employment prospects
The Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is a national organization that offers resources for young women (under the age of 40) diagnosed with breast cancer. Information and support that is specific to the concerns and challenges unique to young women, such those listed above. Their goal is to provide seekers with information, research, and knowledge so they can feel more confident and in control of their health.
- Besides general breast cancer information (Breast Cancer 101), the national Young Survival Coalition has several unique online and print resources:
- YSC recognizes the family and friends of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer as co-survivors, offering coping, self-care, and support resources tailored to the needs of this group.
- Educational materials that include Navigator tools customized for newly-diagnosed, metastatic, post-treatment, and long-term survivors.
- Resource database that includes contact information for national and regional organizations that assist those diagnosed with breast cancer. This includes nonprofits dedicated to legal, career, and adoption/fertility issues, cancer-specific wellness programs and retreats, and more.
- On-line support for survivors and co-survivors in the form of discussion boards, Facebook groups, and video support groups.
The Twin Cities has a very active YSC Face 2 Face group that supports local young women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Co-Leader and Firefly Guide Carissa Vincent shares that she initiated the local YSC Face 2 Face group because she wanted to “connect with other women like me, experiencing the same issues I was going through as a young mom.”
Currently, the group meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at Gilda’s Club from 6-8pm, with a core mission of being there for young women. Says Cathy, a co-leader, “It is healing for me to support other women going through this disease and its treatment.”
At Firefly Sisterhood, we are committed to ensuring that no woman faces breast cancer alone. To accomplish this mission, we routinely share local and national resources that can help those diagnosed with breast cancer, with the Young Survival Coalition being one of the many we are fortunate to have available.
Check out their website for more information and great resources: https://www.youngsurvival.org/
Written by Amy Tix, Firefly Staffer and breast cancer survivor, who was so thankful that other young women with breast cancer had a place to come together and support one another.