The median age of diagnosis with breast cancer in the US is 61 and anyone who has seen a parade or group of women with breast cancer will note that the age trends towards the post-menopausal. However, the a growing segment is those of us diagnosed with breast cancer pre-menopausal. Many of us were told: “You are too young for breast cancer,” during the process of diagnosis, which was entirely wrong.
Like Adiba, I was pre-menopausal when I was diagnosed with MBC at 38 while I was still tandem breastfeeding my boys, then 1 and 3. My boys are now 5 and 7. Neither of them remember much about the time before breast cancer became a central part of our lives.
Those of us who are diagnosed pre-menopausal, perhaps pre-children, have needs that are very very different from those who are post-menopausal. We are in a different phase of life, we have different challenges, and different adjustments to make physically, mentally and emotionally.
I vividly remember the consult with the radiation oncologist when we thought I was Stage II and would have radiation for weeks on my left breast. She talked about how the retired ladies getting radiation didn’t report a noticeable decrease in energy, but that the trip to radiation was likely their one outing of the day and they already likely included a nap in their routine. For me, I was then attempting to fit my treatment into my busy day as a lawyer and small business owner. VERY DIFFERENT!
The bottom line — no one is too young or too old to get breast cancer! Every person needs to take steps to understand their own individual risk, take steps to understand their own bodies, and take steps to get medical opinions/treatments as appropriate. There is no one size fits all or one way of getting diagnosed.
And now you know more about the experience of younger women and breast cancer and the fact that no one is too young to get breast cancer. Another learning opportunity, as part of a webinar series on Grief, is our webinar on Anticipatory Grief tonight! Click here to register for this free event!