This weekend I met up with some gorgeous girls who were on Breast Cancer Care's Younger Women's Forum - I met old friends and made new ones. This is an incredible resource for anyone diagnosed while young. I went on it a few weeks after I was diagnosed and it was a real turning point for me. The information seminars led by medical professionals were both interesting and reassuring and more importantly, I met lots of other girls my age going through the same thing, so suddenly I wasn't alone any more.
Here I am in a video for BCC's 10th year of Younger Women's Forums along with other girls who found it incredibly useful:
Each Younger Women’s Forum includes a choice of different sessions. These may differ at each forum, but tend to cover the following:
Breast surgery and reconstruction
An overview of breast reconstruction techniques, nipple reconstruction, breast reduction and procedures, possible complications and new developments in surgical techniques.
They explain the menopause and how treatments for breast cancer can bring on a premature menopause. They also look at the impact of menopausal symptoms on daily life, the pros and cons of interventions and practical tips to help alleviate symptoms.
Relationships and communication
Facilitated by an experienced therapist, this session explores how your feelings about others and your relationships with them may have changed, what you most want to communicate and to whom, and some ideas that may help.
Laughter can help us to be healthier, happier and less stressed. In this session we play some gentle games based on laughter, and learn why laughter is important and how we can use it to help us.
Controlled breathing and the ability to relax are essential aspects of managing stress. This session includes a guided relaxation to introduce you to simple breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.
Intimacy and sexuality
A chance to talk about the impact of your breast cancer diagnosis and its treatment on current and potential intimate and sexual relationships. It may include suggestions on how to alleviate some of the side effects of treatment and loss of libido.
Information about lymphoedema, its symptoms and how it is managed, and approaches to reducing risk, including practical tips for reducing risk in daily life.
Fertility after treatment
Information about the potential impact that treatment may have on fertility, temporary and permanent amenorrhoea (absence of periods), pregnancy after diagnosis, contraception and current clinical trials.
If you are young and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, I wholeheartedly recommend booking onto one of their forums. They have a few throughout the year at different locations throughout the UK.