About 4 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the U. A breast cancer diagnosis is shocking for young women. At a time in life most often focused on family and career, issues of treatment, recovery and survivorship suddenly take top priority. With treatment, the chances of survival for young women diagnosed with early breast cancer are good. However, prognosis tends to be worse in women under 40 than in older women. This is because breast cancers in these younger women can be different from breast cancers in older women. Breast cancers in younger women are more likely to be [ ]:. Each of these factors makes breast cancer more aggressive and more likely to need chemotherapy [ ]. So, breast cancers found in younger women may be larger than those found in older women who get regular mammograms. A large tumor may have a better prognosis than a small tumor, based on biological measures such as hormone receptor status and HER2 status.
Single Women: Finding Your Way
This question is more complex than it was before cancer. Who knew being a single and childless woman would give men the false impression they could verbally judge me about it? I had made the decision years ago that I would not have any children of my own unless I was married. I had yet to meet someone I wanted to procreate with, so enough said. After being diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer in September , my body internally and externally would forever be changed.
Common dating concerns in women with cancer has changed, such as weight changes, hair loss, or loss of a breast or other body part.
When Laura Brashier received a diagnosis of stage 4 cervical cancer at age 37, her life came screeching to a halt. She was prepared for the possibility of a hysterectomy, extensive radiation and chemotherapy — and even the reality of never being able to bear children. Eventually, you really have that desire to jump back into that mainstream. Being single often includes dating, but that is an uncomfortable and often taboo topic for people affected by cancer.
Just as patients in treatment struggle with whether to add a line about their diagnosis in their profile or post an older picture to mask hair loss, survivors of cancer often find it difficult to put themselves out there. They grapple with questions about when to reveal their survivorship or any longer-term side effects of their past treatment. Brashier, whose lifesaving radiation left her unable to have intercourse, is no stranger to these insecurities.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May at the age of In July , I celebrated my one year cancer-free anniversary surrounded by the family and friends who had supported me, including my husband. I was 34 years old, a breast cancer survivor and my husband left me. Suddenly, the empowered survivor was a weak, insecure woman who had no idea what the future held. The strength I displayed throughout treatment vanished, and I had to figure out who I was and where I was going.
I did the chores I hated, like taking out the garbage.
Theresa Back-Huggett never imagined she’d be dealing with breast cancer at age Now happily married, she talks about her struggles dating with breast cancer. She was in a long-term romance and enjoying all the fun of being young and in love. Back-Huggett said that year she faced three battles. First, she had to fight to get a proper diagnosis given her unusually young age. In the midst of her treatment, she also struggled with a failing relationship. Because I was unable to have intercourse, he started turning to the Internet for his needs, which was very hurtful to me.
“Here’s Everything I Learned Dating with Breast Cancer”
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How one woman battled breast cancer—and the L.A. dating scene—and came out on top.
We’re committed to providing you with the very best cancer care, and your safety continues to be a top priority. This is just one more way of ensuring your safety and that of our staff. Read more. Rebuilding confidence is key for cancer patients and survivors who plan to jump back into the dating scene. You may wonder: Am I ready to put myself out there again?
When should I talk about my condition?
The thought of dating after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment might make you nervous, exhilarated, cautious or curious. And you may feel all those at the same time! The physical and emotional changes you may have experienced can leave you wondering:. These are very common worries.
To understand my dating journey after breast cancer, you need to understand my back story. In , my year-old daughter was diagnosed.
Since being diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at 28 years old, she combines her love of writing with a passion to help women affected by cancer. Check out her blog at cancerunder Cassandra loves travelling as much as she can, dresses that twirl, anything Disney and her little red Fiat — Luna. You can make a positive impact in the lives of young women living with breast cancer. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly.
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Unique Issues for Young Women with Breast Cancer
What should you know about dating after a cancer diagnosis? When is the right time to share your diagnosis, and how should you do it? Let’s face it: dating is complicated these days. It’s full of unnerving decisions, from figuring out how long to wait before calling, to choosing the right time to meet the parents.
But when you throw a cancer diagnosis and treatment into the dating dynamics, it can be even more stressful.
The thought of dating after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment might make you nervous, exhilarated, cautious or curious. And you may feel.
Linda Dackman was 34 when she had a mastectomy. She had no way to find help as a single woman looking for a relationship, wanting to know when and how to tell about her mastectomy and her disease. She wrote the book Up Front: Sex and the Post-Mastectomy Woman , a personal account of how she coped with these problems unfortunately out of print, but worth tracking down in a library or a used book store.
Each time she met someone new, Linda had to struggle with when and how to tell, and then how to behave in intimate situations. In the beginning, she would blurt out her history almost immediately, frightening herself and her date. Gradually she got to a point where she was able to wait till the third or fourth meeting and discuss it without upsetting herself or her companion.
And she learned to protect herself during the initial phase of a sexual encounter by wearing a silky cover-up, gradually working up to full exposure. Renee told Burt about her cancer history on their first date, including the fact that it was unlikely she could have children.
Dating After Breast Cancer: Megan-Claire’s Story
As a recently-single year-old, I wondered what implications cancer would have on my love life. In the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis, my single status fell to the backburner as I tried to navigate the complex cancer web of surgeons, tests, and treatment plans. But as I settled into the 7-month treatment process fertility preservation, chemo, and two surgeries , I started to consider my options when it came to dating. Having met my last boyfriend online, I decided to reactivate my online dating profile about two months into the process.
Armed with a lot of free time and a damn good wig, I figured I had nothing to lose by putting myself out there. It was actually easier than I had anticipated.
a Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. 2 b Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Westmead Hospital.
Although metastatic breast cancer is a life-changing illness for all women, young women can experience a unique set of challenges and concerns. If you are in your twenties, thirties or early forties, you may be facing very different issues compared with women in later stages of their lives. You may just be starting out in your career, pursuing further studies, or spending time travelling. You might be saving for your first home, or living in a share house, or sharing a house with your partner.
You may be thinking of having children — or not thinking about it, if that is something you planned to put off until later. You may be pregnant or caring for a young family, either with a partner or on your own. And as a young woman, a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer may feel especially frightening, confronting and isolating. You may be worrying about issues such as:. This page provides some clarity to those questions.
Aftermath of Surviving Breast Cancer Can Make Dating Complicated
Although there might not be a perfect time to tell someone about everything you have been through, there are perhaps less ideal times. I often advise patients not to have this discussion on first dates as this is a lot to process for both you and your potential partner. There is also a level of vulnerability that is required for a discussion like this that may not be suited for very initial stages of a new relationship.
When you are ready, it is important however to mention that you have had breast cancer before being intimate with someone. Below are a few tips to consider as you think about having these conversations:.
I mused to my sister shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis in early Having met my last boyfriend online, I decided to reactivate my online dating profile.
Interested in contributing to a future installment of Dating While? Fill out this form. Tina Dyakon is a year-old marketing director living in St. Petersburg, Fla. She was married for seven years and has been divorced for 14 years. For the first two years after the diagnosis, my energy went towards getting through the numerous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments — not to mention losing my hair, losing my health and then re-establishing both.
When I was ready to date again, I noticed that if I mentioned that I was a cancer survivor in my online dating profile, I would get fewer responses and those interactions would not materialize into meeting in real life. Sometimes, it comes up in conversation or is on my mind. Regardless of the approach, the moment I mention the c-word, most people shut down. We went through the divorce when my daughter was 4 years old. My ex-husband left the state when she was 6 years old.
When that happened, I no longer had every other weekend and every Tuesday and Thursday night free to think like, act like and be a single woman. It was challenging at times to juggle a big career and the most important job — parenthood.