Rethink Breast Cancer's care priorities for young women with breast cancer

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 Priorities, to help young women get the unique care they really need.


Receive Treatment And Care Tailored To You, No Matter What Type Or Stage.

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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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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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, as well as potential impact on bone, sexual and mental health, body weight and image. Where appropriate, you should be given support and resources on coping with these side effects of treatment.

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Be Informed About Effects On Your Fertility And Receive Special Care If You’re Pregnant Or A New Mom

You should be given a full explanation about the possible impact of treatment on fertility, including support and resources for contraception and pregnancy after treatment. If appropriate, receive options for preserving fertility. Similarly, be offered specialized counselling if you are diagnosed during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth to help you cope. If you have to be treated with chemotherapy during pregnancy, you should have access to a specialist with experience in this area.

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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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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 or therapist, especially if you are having difficulty coping with making major life decisions sooner than you expected.

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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 and the reality of the look and feel of reconstructed breasts.

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Be Offered Resources For Financial Support

You should be asked if you need a referral to discuss the financial impact of your diagnosis. Topics might include employment rights, benefit plans, coping with a loss of income, and the effects on mortgage and insurance.

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Be Offered Specialized Supportive Care Services With A Metastatic Breast Cancer Diagnosis

You should be offered access to supportive care services through palliative care at the time of your metastatic diagnosis. Services include nutrition, pain management, physical and occupational therapy, and psychosocial support.

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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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care priorities

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 Priorities comes
free with any purchase.