Rethink breast cancer's care guidelines

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is tough at any age, but being diagnosed when you’re young makes it even harder. Young women with breast cancer have unique care needs such as challenges with fertility, relationships, body image, or financial concerns that may be different than older patients. That’s why we’ve created these recommended Care Guidelines, to help young women get the unique care they really need.

1

Receive Treatment And Care Tailored To You

You should receive treatment and care from healthcare professionals who are sensitive to the unique needs and concerns that you may face as a young woman with breast cancer.

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2

Be Asked About Breast Cancer In Your Family

You should have a full family history taken as soon as possible as it relates to inherited cancer risk. If appropriate, you should be offered a referral to a genetic specialist for testing and counselling.

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3

Be Informed About Potential Changes To Your Sexual And Mental Health

You should be told about the risk of menstrual irregularity or early menopause as a result of some treatments. You should also be given advice on how to cope physically and emotionally with these and other possible effects of treatment, which can impact body image and sexual health, or result in brain fog.

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4

Be Informed About The Potential Effects On Your Fertility

You should be given a full explanation during initial treatment planning about the possible impact on fertility. If appropriate, you should be referred promptly to a fertility specialist to discuss options for preserving fertility before starting chemotherapy or hormone therapy. You should also be given information on contraception and pregnancy after treatment.

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5

Receive Special Care If You Are Pregnant Or A New Mom

You should be offered counselling if you are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth to help you cope with the impact on you and your family.

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6

Be Offered Resources For Your Children And Family

If you have kids, you should be informed about community-based resources to help you with childcare during your treatment and recovery, as well as domestic services and support resources to help other family members cope.

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7

Be Given The Opportunity To Talk To Someone

You should have the opportunity to discuss some of the complex life decisions you may be facing in a supportive environment with a skilled counsellor, especially if you are having difficulty coping with making major life decisions sooner than you expected.

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8

Be Informed About Your Options For Breast Reconstruction

You should be fully informed about breast reconstruction options, including the option to opt out altogether. You should also be told about the possible risks, as well as the reality of the look and feel of reconstructed breasts.

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9

Be Offered Resources To Help Manage Finances

You should be given, if needed, the opportunity to be put in touch with community agencies to discuss the financial implications associated with breast cancer, including employment rights, benefit plans, coping with a loss of income, and the effects on mortgage and insurance.

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10

Know That You’re Not Alone

You should have the opportunity to be connected with other young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. You also should be told about long-term sources of post-treatment peer support.

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Send Me A Copy

Use this book to help you and your loved ones navigate your diagnosis and treatment, and ensure that your unique needs are addressed in a timely manner. Write down any questions that you have, keep notes and important contact information, and share this info with your supporters so they can help you get access to the resources you need.

A copy of the Care Guidelines comes
free with any purchase.