Thursday, 1 October 2015

Let us tell you about what having breast cancer is really like


Welcome to October, also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

My name is Sarah. I'm 34 years old and in July last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last October, I was halfway through 18 weeks of chemotherapy. With my veins tight, hard and sore as a result of the chemo drugs, my hair falling out, and my anxiety levels through the roof, I realised I hated breast cancer awareness month. At best it was annoying (pink ribbons and cake sales everywhere). At worst it was offensive (pink Playboy bunnies with their perfect non-cancery, unscarred breasts posing in train stations raising awareness of Playboy London breast cancer). I promised myself that if I were still alive in October this year, I'd do some awareness raising of my own. As it happens - I am lucky enough to still be alive and I realised this blog would be the perfect platform for that awareness raising.

So throughout October, this blog will be sharing posts written by young women in the UK who want to tell you what breast cancer is really like. We are going to tell you about what it's like to be told you have cancer and what it's like when your hair starts falling out. We are going to tell you what it's like to have your husband leave you when you are going through chemotherapy and how it feels to not know if you will see your children grow up. We are also going to tell you about the friendships that get you through it, and the acts of kindness that really make a difference. We are going to tell you about the new perspectives on life that a breast cancer diagnosis brings. (And so much more).

I hope that this series helps more people to realise that breast cancer isn't the pink and fluffy cancer. It is deadly, and it is terrifying. Please do continue to buy the pink ribbons and organise the cake sales - fundraising is important. But please also think about the real impact of breast cancer on lives and PLEASE learn how to check yourself and do it regularly. An early diagnosis makes the difference between living and dying.

Do "Like" and share our Facebook page, and if you are on Twitter you can follow the blog there too.

Very best wishes,

PS If you are a young woman in the UK (around 45 years old or younger) who has had a breast cancer diagnosis and you would like to contribute to this October series please have a read of this information.

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Write for the blog! This blog is one of a series being shared on the Young Women's Breast Cancer Blog UK during October, breast cancer awareness month, but the blog is here year round. If you are a young woman in the UK who has/had a breast cancer diagnosis and you would like to be a part of this blog, please have a read of the additional information here.

Check your breasts
Breast cancer can happen to any of us - regardless of age. Information about how to check your breasts can be found on the Coppafeel and Breast Cancer Now websites.

Further information and support:
Younger Breast Cancer Network UK - an online chat and support group for women under the age of 45 in the UK who have had a breast cancer diagnosis.
Baldly Beautiful - a YouTube channel with make up demonstrations, created by Mac makeup artist Andrea Pellegrini who went through chemo herself in 2014.
Take A Moment - This is a group for women (all ages) who have/had breast cancer who want to explore, reflect on and express their feelings and experiences through photography. This is a link to the public page - to join the group, send them a message.
The Osborne Trust - Providing children of parents with cancer the opportunity to access time out recreational activities whilst their parents undergo operations and treatments
Jen's Friends - Free heart-shaped pillows for women (and men) with Breast Cancer. Designed to provide comfort and protection after a Mastectomy operation.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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