Arin Ahlum Hanson, MPH, CHES, manager, Young Women’s Initiative, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, discusses the unique needs of young women who are affected by breast cancer.
Hanson says that as breast cancer occurs less often in younger women, it is often a shock to the patient. Often, peer support around young women with breast cancer is not the same as the peer support surrounding older women with breast cancer. Peer groups for younger women are not used to dealing with this kind of traumatic news, Hanson says.
There are also differences medically. Hanson says fertility is a key issue for younger women. Because chemotherapy can affect fertility, many women must decide immediately if they want to have children in the future. Hanson also mentioned that fertility preservation can cost up to $10,000 and is seldom covered by health insurance.
Because breast cancer in younger women is also more aggressive, these young women are often facing an increased risk of symptoms and side effects, Hanson says.
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