April 6, 2017

Breast Cancer


Here’s a free collection of resources about breast cancer- Breast cancer blogs, videos, support groups, first-hand experiences and advice from people who have breast cancer, etc.

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Breast Cancer Blogs

Here’s a list of breast cancer blogs- blogs written by people with breast cancer, or about breast cancer.

****Email alexbalinski@gmail.com to submit your blog to this list.***

American Cancer Society cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer 2017
BreastCancer.org Resources breastcancer.org 2017
Cancer.gov Resources cancer.gov/types/breast 2017
Web MD Resources webmd.com/breast-cancer 2017
Medline Plus Resources medlineplus.gov/breastcancer 2017
Wikipedia Article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_cancer 2017
National Breast Cancer Foundation nationalbreastcancer.org 2017
CDC Resources cdc.gov/cancer/breast 2017
Mayo Clinic Resources mayoclinic.org..breast-cancer 2017
Breast Cancer Action bcaction.org 2017
Breast Cancer Research Foundation bcrfcure.org 2017
Living Beyond Breast Cancer lbbc.org 2017
Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer stupiddumbbreastcancer.com 2017
Caroline’s Breast Cancer Blog carolinemfr.blogspot.com 2017
 Stick it 2 Stage 4 stickit2stage4.com/ 2017
I Have Breast Cancer Blog ihavebreastcancerblog.me 2017
BC Becky bcbecky.com 2017
I Hate Breast Cancer ihatebreastcancer.wordpress.com 2017
Anna Craig Blog annacraigblog.com 2016
Lisa B. Adams lisabadams.com 2015
My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com 2014

Breast Cancer Support Groups

Breast Cancer Support Groups On Facebook

  1. Breast Cancer Survivor Group (12,333 members)
  2. My Breast Cancer Sisters (8,697 members)
  3. Breast Cancer Straight Talk Support Group (7,089 members)
  4. After Breast Cancer – Support The Girls (6,074 members)
  5. Breast Cancer Alternatives (4,335 members)
  6. Breast Cancer Support Group (4,155 members)
  7. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (4,092 members)
  8. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivors (3,732 members)
  9. Breast Cancer Prevention & Support Group (2,907 members)
  10. Breast Cancer Support- I Got This! (2,807 members)
  11. Breast Cancer Journey Support Group (2,570 members)
  12. Young Women With Breast Cancer (2,459 members)
  13. Breast Cancer Champions (2,193 members)
  14. Closed Metastatic (Stage IV) Breast Cancer Support Group (2,053 members)
  15. Breast Cancer Supporters (2,011 members)
  16. ER+ PR+ HER2- Breast Cancer Support Group (1,614 members)
  17. Breast Cancer Buddies UK Facebook Group (1,463 members)
  18. Breast Cancer Integrative Healing Group (1,083 members)
  19. HER2 Positive Breast Cancer Support & Awareness Group (1,031 members)
  20. Lobular Breast Cancer (ILC) Invasive Lobular Carcinoma Facebook Group (959 members)
  21. Flat & Fabulous Breast Cancer (956 members)
  22. Breast Cancer Slayers & Survivors (948 members)
  23. Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Support (695 members)
  24. The Pink Sisters (298 members)
  25. Breast Cancer Warriors (228 members)
  26. Healing Breast Cancer Naturally (220 members)
  27. Breast Cancer Husbands (154 members)

Other Breast Cancer Support Groups And Forums

  1. Breast Cancer Discussion Forums
  2. Cancer Survivors Network
  3. Macmillan Breast Support Online Community
  4. HealingWell.com Breast Cancer Forum
  5. DailyStrength Breast Cancer Support Group

Breast Cancer Survey

We’re surveying people about their experiences with breast cancer. Here will be a collection of their responses.

*This information is not meant to replace medical advice, and the information gathered via surveys may or may not be correct. Hopefully it will be helpful to you!

*Response format = Answer (Name, Age)


**Click here to share your experience with breast cancer**


Breast Cancer Symptoms

What symptoms have you experienced?

  • Small lump that grew and changed shape, slight pain, inflammation (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Found lump (Gail, 34 years old)
  • I had an itchy, inverted nipple. only after I discovered the cancer did I realize that these were symptoms. (Angela, 37 years old)
  • fatigue, nerve pain, numbness, easily bruise impossible to lose weight (Paula, 39 years old)
  • None, found lump (Odette, 40 years old)
  • None (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Found lump in the April 2012 after having baby in June 2011. (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • Tumors, loss of mobility, pain. (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • No symptoms, lots of side effects (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Hair loss fatigue nausea (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • pain, lump, itchy breast, orange peel skin (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • Pain, immobility, fatigue (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Lump (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • Bone pain from tamoxifen upset stomach from Herceptin. (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Nipple discharge, breast tissue thickening (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • puckering near the nipple, spoking outward (Christine, 45 years old)
  • None (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • lump, breast felt “firmer” (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Pain (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Zero (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Stabbing pain in affected breast, rash (Emily, 46 years old)
  • Hot flushes, feeling itchy  all over my skin, no sleep, lack of appetite, sex has gone out the window as I am sore and red down below all the time, mood swings, depression, anxiety, diarrhea, muscles and joints ache so it’s difficult to walk sometimes, basically I feel like cancer took my breast and now tamoxifen has took over my life 🙁 (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • None (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • None (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Only a pea sized lump near my nipple at first (Julie, 47 years old)
  • None. Just found the lumps (June, 47 years old)
  • Lump (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Sadness, depression, serious pain (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Tired, joint pain (Ann, 48 years old)
  • A lump and a mass (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Found a lump (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Felt lump 6 months after a “normal” 3D Mammogram (Mary, 48 years old)
  • NONE (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • Had a lump that tested cancerous. (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • Micro-calcifications (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • deep ache where lump was (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Swollen Red Lymph Node under arm (Karen, 50 years old)
  • Breast pain (Maria, 50 years old)
  • None (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • Lump, pain when touched, elevated white count, pain in shoulder blade area (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • No symptoms I noticed Dimpling and self-checked myself (Nada, 51 years old)
  • None (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • Painful breast (Caren, 52 years old)
  • I had no symptoms (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Lump found in armpit (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • Lump (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Symptoms which found it?  Nine. Mammogram found it. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • I was symptom free (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Fatigue aching joints, flu like system all the time (Julie, 53 years old)
  • Fatigue, nerve and lung damage after surgery and radiation the first time, depression (Kay, 53 years old)
  • I had no symptoms. It was going on mammogram. (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Itching and indent then lump (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • None (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Low grade migraine 24/7, joint pain (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Burning feeling, no apparent lump. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • I found a lump in my left breast (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Lymphedema severe neuropathy in my feet, severe depression, PTSD, and anxiety, nausea, unable to eat, unable to sleep, pain and numbness in my left breast, pain and burns from radiation chemo brain (Marie, 56 years old)
  • None (Judi, 57 years old)
  • I felt the lump mammogram didn’t pick it up (Julie, 57 years old)
  • Nausea. With chemo!!rash and blisters with radiation (Laura, 57 years old)
  • Numbness and deep itching, pain occasionally (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • Experienced none; found on an annual mammogram (Karen, 58 years old)
  • None (Susan, 58 years old)
  • I had a small BB size spot on my left nipple. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • None (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Osteoporosis (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • Joint pain and stiffness from Arimidex (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Lumpy patch under skin (Gill, 61 years old)
  • Pain from biopsy and incision sites. Radiation burns. Fatigue. Nausea. (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • None (Susan, 61 years old)
  • I found a lump in my right breast 13 yrs. ago (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Swelling and redness (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Extreme fatigue, nausea, headaches, body aches, insomnia, forgetfulness (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • None (Janice, 63 years old)
  • None (Mary, 63 years old)
  • None. Found on a routine every 6-month mammogram (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Found the lump in my breast 3 months after my mammogram (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Side effects of 13 years of medications and chemo (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • After 16 treatments of Chemo I now have no immune system……… (amber-joy j., 69 years old)
  • None (Anonymous, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Causes

Is there anything you believe contributed to your breast cancer?

  • Family history (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Possibly a change in diet – high protein meaning loads of meat, cheese, whey protein. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • The pill, flying (was cabin crew), soy formula as a baby? (Angela, 37 years old)
  • Using strong aluminum deodorants due to excessive sweating when younger (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • Depro vera (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Maybe lifestyle / diet? (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Love life, divorce (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Younger days of drinking smoking taking pill.  Grandma (on mum’s side) dies from breast cancer in 2007. (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • Poor thyroid management/hormone balancing and lack of prioritizing hormones in the medical community. (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • No but I had a very stressful 12 months. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Stress, processed foods (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • Stress (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • Long term contraception pill usage (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • Genetics (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Stress, vitamin D deficiency (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • No (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Hormones (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • stress, staying up long hours, not eating correctly, GMOs (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Birth control pills for too many years and alcoholism (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • public school food (not really kidding . . . I ate a lot of it in the past 8 years! A lot of it is filled with artificial ingredients and GMO’s.), maybe using cream on my breasts that had parabens, an overwhelming amount of stress triggering a gene mutation I have, primary hyperparathyroidism (Marie, 45 years old)
  • No (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Mastitis (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Nope (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Overweight, stress (Emily, 46 years old)
  • No (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • No (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Unknown.  However, it is hormone receptor positive and I was on the pill for 17 yrs. (Anica, 47 years old)
  • I think it’s all the preservatives in our food (Julie, 47 years old)
  • Stress. Mum died (June, 47 years old)
  • Not a clue, I’ve been healthy (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Smoking, bad luck (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Bad luck (Ann, 48 years old)
  • In my family (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Maybe my stress (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Estrogen Positive Tumor (Mary, 48 years old)
  • NO (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • GMO, hormone filled foods (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • possibly birth control pills (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • stress and alcohol (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • No except I found out just before diagnosis my body was acidic (Karen, 50 years old)
  • Taking birth control for many years. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Mother had breast cancer at 38 (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • Not 100% no (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • Stress and bad relationship. Problems with Spouse for Years… (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Maybe the pill (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • no live vaginal births (Caren, 52 years old)
  • No (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • No (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Been on birth control pills since I was 14 except for when I had and nursed kids.  Cancer fed on it.   Also, very stressful life past 20 years. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • Birth control pills (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Stress (Julie, 53 years old)
  • Stress, Hormone Imbalance, diet, genetic (Kay, 53 years old)
  • HRT (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Lack of Vitamin D (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • No (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • 25# weight gain (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • No (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • Maybe the pill, maybe where I live. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • I really don’t know. Paternal grandmother had her breast removed from cancer (Marie, 56 years old)
  • Wish I knew (Judi, 57 years old)
  • Not sure. Eat what I have…maybe that! (Laura, 57 years old)
  • I am positive for the Estrogen Positive BRCA gene (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • being overweight?   mom with ovarian cancer?  who knows really- maybe just not lucky (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Very bad diet. Lots of preservatives. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • I was on hormones.  Had a hysterectomy in the early 1990’s.  Cannot get a clear answer on whether this contributed to my breast cancer. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • Hormone therapy (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Stress from an abusive stalking ex-husband going through a traumatic divorce (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • Low vitamin D. Otherwise, I eat healthy and breastfed, exercise. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • No (Gill, 61 years old)
  • HRT for 20 years after hysterectomy in 1995 (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • CHEK2 mutation (Susan, 61 years old)
  • No (Tina, 61 years old)
  • HRT I found out later in very high doses. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Hereditary, diet. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • HCG shots? (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Stress and vitamin D deficiency have been suggested (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Extreme stress, overweight (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Don’t know (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Overweight, birth control pills and wrong diet (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • Stress….  and its genetic (amber-joy j., 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Facts

What are some interesting facts about breast cancer?

  • It can occur in men too. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • Anyone can get it, young girls/boys can get it, different types of breast cancer (Angela, 37 years old)
  • It doesn’t care that you have young kids (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • Mammogram was clean, but ultra sound found 2 and surgeon found 5 (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Anyone can get it (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Is there any? (Edit, 42 years old)
  • There’s a lack of funding in the metastatic part of the disease, you know that part which kills 99% of those
  • It can happen to anyone! (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • It will forever change your life (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • You don’t always feel a lump (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • That lobular breast cancer is extremely difficult to detect on mammograms (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • It shouldn’t be interesting. It’s awful. destroys bodies and lives. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Most people gain weight while on chemo for breast cancer (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • It can happen to anyone, anywhere. Anytime. (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Breast cancer treatment, because of hormone receptors, is different for everyone (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • The statistic is that one out of every 8 women will get breast cancer some time in their lives. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Early detection DOES NOT mean saving your breast. It means you have a greater chance of living with or
  • Without your breast, and of cutting out all the cancer before it spreads. (Marie, 45 years old)
  • That estrogen is produced from being overweight (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Maternal grandmother had it, it skipped a generation in my family, and got me. (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Tumor Was much bigger than expected (Emily, 46 years old)
  • It totally changes your life and everyday u r scared in case the pain u feel is cancer (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • That even though they removed it all, you are still worried it will come back (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Before I had it, I had no idea how many different kinds there were. (Anica, 47 years old)
  • It doesn’t just affect women, men can get it too (Julie, 47 years old)
  • It has a 92% survival rate (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Too many to type in a survey (Ann, 48 years old)
  • That it’s not genetic only (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Only 15% are genetic, 1 in 8 women will get Breast Cancer; over 30,000 still due from breast cancer every year (Mary, 48 years old)
  • IT CAN STRIKE ANYONE ANYTIME (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • That there are so many different types (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • Not all breast cancer presents as a lump. Sometimes it’s microcalcification, sometimes discoloration or
  • Pitting, sometimes pain… (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • Doesn’t discriminate, so many different types (Karen, 50 years old)
  • 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with BC (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Usually on the left (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • How there are so many kinds. Aggressive, not aggressive, how they classify different kinds and the different
  • Chemo drugs (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • How dangerous can be! Surgeries are ugly and painful! (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Some can be prevented and can be treated, effectively. (Caren, 52 years old)
  • You don’t need a family history of it to get it. I’m the first. (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • No one’s treatment or situation is the same (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • It was nowhere in my family then my sister and I both diagnosed within 6 weeks of each other. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • That it doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone. (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • That one in 8 women will have some form of breast cancer (Julie, 53 years old)
  • Different things cause it. You don’t have to just go conventional for treatment.  There are natural options too. (Kay, 53 years old)
  • It doesn’t discriminate (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Many women I talked to all said they was told they was severely vitamin D deficient right before told breast cancer. (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • Even if you breast feed you can get breast cancer (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Diet rich in Veggies & fruit is best (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Nasty thing. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • Tiring, treatment not as bad as I thought it would be. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • The many different types (Judi, 57 years old)
  • Nothing. Really (Laura, 57 years old)
  • It doesn’t change who you are. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • The science of diagnosis & pathology is interesting, but the rest is discouraging (Karen, 58 years old)
  • 1 out of 8 women will have breast cancer.  Mammograms only diagnose 85% of breast cancer meaning 15% of women who have breast cancer go another year or longer not knowing. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • It can hit anyone (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • The link between hypothyroid low vitamin d and Breast cancer (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • Dairy products feed it yet Susan B. Koman sponsors sugared yogurt. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • You have to be lucky where you go for treatment (Gill, 61 years old)
  • No straight line from diagnosis to treatment (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • Family history=genetic testing (Susan, 61 years old)
  • Affects any age at any time and any stage – breast cancer is the one thing in this world that isn’t racist, sexist and doesn’t care about age (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Most breast cancer is not familial. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • There are so many kinds. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • So many different kinds. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • More women have it than I ever imagined (Mary, 63 years old)
  • All the side effects you can have after chemotherapy and radiation. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • It sucks (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Everyone has an answer (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • That its more prevalent today than it used to be and it’s because we are on ‘HORMONE’ overload (amber-joy, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Pain Management

What’s your experience with breast cancer-related pain and pain relief?

  • NA (Gail, 34 years old)
  • Only pain I had was after my single mastectomy. Lots of mess to help recovery and then was fine. (Angela, 37 years old)
  • I take an Aleve and an aspirin every day (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Surgery caused my pain (Odette, 40 years old)
  • None (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Pain killers aren’t that great for pain! (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • My pain was mainly related to the left side mastectomy, bone pain from chemo. Pain relief tablets have been great, especially those post-surgery. I do wish there was a way to have strong pain relief without feeling spaced out. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • I’m always in pain with my chest. Always achy and sore. No matter what I do, nothing helps. (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • Tender sore breast no relief till chemo (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • that breast Cancer lumps are painful. my tumor was 6cm and I regularly had shooting pains from the tumor area. Limited arm movement range and cording from having axillary lymph node dissection. (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • Horrifying (Heather, 43 years old)
  • I did it ha e much pain during my treatment (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • From tamoxifen, get relief with Ultram and soaks in bath tub (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Very little pain (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • I don’t really have pain from the cancer itself, but from the treatments. I get charlie horses on my right side if I move too suddenly. They also come when I am cold. I occasionally get pain in the legs (probably from Tamoxifen). (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Only had post op pain (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • Biopsy pain is miserable. Umx pain is better controlled with prescription meds, but still a lot to take. I don’t like the pain meds side effects, so probably could have taken them a little longer. I wish there was something between Percocet and Tylenol/Advil that I could take. (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Docs don’t like to prescribe pain meds (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Learning to live w aches and pains. (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Not too bad, yoga helped with mobility and pain after surgery (Emily, 46 years old)
  • I am in pain everyday where my breast and lymph nodes have been removed. I take paracetamol, codeine and ibuprofen for the pain (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • I had double Mastectomy, so the good news was very little pain because of loss of sensation in breast area because of nerves being cut. Just the incision area was where I felt pain. I do get phantom pains. I took Hydrocodone for pain relief after first surgery (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • For me there was no pain other than that from surgery (Anica, 47 years old)
  • None (Julie, 47 years old)
  • Had no pain thankfully (June, 47 years old)
  • It sucks (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Just had a partial mastectomy and the drain tube is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced! Pain meds help. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • None since surgery, yet (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Good (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Taking Targin but not for my breast cancer (Christine, 48 years old)
  • I suffer from constant post Mastectomy pain, neuropathy pain in legs & feet from Taxol & spinal stenosis, bone/joint pain from anti-hormone medication. I was managing the pain OK taking Over-the-counter pain meds (Aleve) until I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Kidney damage from chemo drug Cytoxan. I live with daily pain that my Dr’s are trying different things to assist – low dose steroids, physical therapy etc. (Mary, 48 years old)
  • NO PAIN ANYMORE DUE TO MASTECTOMY, LIVING WITH NUMBNESS (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • I have been lucky; it’s been painless. (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • I still have shooting pains one year past lumpectomy, and I have joint pain that I feel might be from taking Tamoxifen. (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • I have more pain from a meniscus tear than from my breast cancer. I am offered Tylenol for that. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • More pain from surgeries and treatments (Karen, 50 years old)
  • I just deal with the pain.  I haven’t used anything but Tylenol if I need to. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • I had a bad time of it. I was on a pill for breakthrough pain and a patch the rest of the time. (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • I didn’t have any pain before surgery! (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Joint pain from tamoxifen (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • Supplementation and living a healthy lifestyle (Caren, 52 years old)
  • Some of the worst pain I’ve ever had.  Thank God for pain medication (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • I haven’t had that much pain (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Have done very well. Double Mastectomy took pain mess. Other than that. Nothing. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • I’ve used Percocet for pain but not for long (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Just push through it, not a lot of things work (Julie, 53 years old)
  • I didn’t have a lot of pain. Took meds the day of surgery (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Really no pain (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • Would love an alternative to pain medication (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Tart cherry juice & dark green veggies work well to reduce joint pain. (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Lymphedema in arm, joint pain and chemo brain from chemo and adjunct hormone therapy. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • I already on Targin for pain relief. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Sometimes the pain is so unbearable. I think they should give you meds stronger than Percocet. (Marie, 56 years old)
  • Mastectomy was physically and emotionally painful. Pain Med’s helped the physical (Judi, 57 years old)
  • I think fatigue is the worst. Handled the chemo ok was hospitalized for a fever one time for 4 days. Radiation I think was the worst a week after my last treatment got so itchy red and swollen. Just miserable. (Julie, 57 years old)
  • Painfully. Pain relievers so so. (Laura, 57 years old)
  • Muscle relaxes helped the most (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • I experienced a lot of bone/joint pain from chemo and/or nuelasta.  Tramadol and morphine helped some (Karen, 58 years old)
  • I only had pain after surgery. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • not much pain that a couple of pain meds cannot help with (Susan, 59 years old)
  • The most pain I experienced was after reconstruction surgery. Narcotic pain medicine worked. (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • I needed Xanax to sleep, nothing for pain (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • I use Bayer aspirin (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Got plenty to help during chemo but you just have to get on with it and be strong (Gill, 61 years old)
  • Tylenol doesn’t cut it no matter what Dr says. Rest is best. Pain meds help (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • Only pain I had was from the surgery and the first cancer pill I was put on Exemestane. (Susan, 61 years old)
  • During chemo I experienced severe migraines (Tina, 61 years old)
  • post-op and now with Arimidex. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Pain meds, heat, ice and physical therapy. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • Not much pain.  Very tolerable (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Norco has been the best relief at night for a damaged nipple (radiation damage along with sensitivity since Wire guided surgery) Tylenol works well during the day. (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Very little pain after lumpectomy (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Difficult to manage (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Have it all the time seems to control my life at times (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • Had the double mastectomy in 2010, 16 treatments of hectic chemo and I’ve been fighting skin aliments ever since…. and it’s painful, really painful (amber-joy, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Difficulties

What are the hardest aspects of living with breast cancer?

  • Being unable to work. Feeling like a burden. (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Worrying it may return. Waiting for smear tests in case the hormonal aspect has made changes there too. Tamoxifen. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • Worried it’s going to come back. Worried something you do would make it return. (Angela, 37 years old)
  • scars, permanent disfigurement, worry about it coming back. Money (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Fear and anxiety of dying (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Reoccurrence (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Thinking it may return even though I had chemo radio and double mastectomy tamoxifen (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • Trying to live as normal as possible and trying to picture a future. (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • That it changes you, and although you get NED you still have to live with the cloud of reoccurrence. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Waiting for surgery and results. (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • Not knowing if what you are doing is the right thing to do (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • Having a mastectomy and only having one breast causes physical, mental and emotional damage. Having a 60% 5-year survival rate. Chemotherapy and its endless potential issues it can cause. Being faced with your own mortality (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • Having small children and leaving them behind and missing out on their lives (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Disruption to regular schedule, balancing medical visits with work and home life (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • Stress of it returning, all the medical appointments, the expense! (Amy, 44 years old)
  • Lack of energy and forgetfulness and people just don’t understand you just don’t feel like doing stuff all the time (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Knowing it could come back (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • Not knowing if it will come back, after all the treatments. There is always that shadow of recurrence possibilities. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Fear of it coming back and fear of losing breast (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • The fear (terror) that absorbs your being when you least expect it, both pre and post op. Next, getting used to your new body and accepting its IMPERFECTions. (Marie, 45 years old)
  • The fatigue (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • The constant worrying (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Terrible scars, no nipple, lack of understanding from friends (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • How it affects memory, stamina, concentration…. disability and not in full health (Emily, 46 years old)
  • The fact that it cud come back (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • The worry that it will come back, Side effects from Tamoxiphen. Stressing on wondering if taking tamoxiphen is helping or hurting my survival. (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Fear of recurrence (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Losing a Breast (Julie, 47 years old)
  • The waiting from being diagnosed to having my mastectomy. 2.5 months (June, 47 years old)
  • Wondering if it will come back. Where and when…if… (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Seeing my family hurt and have to take care of me… thinking I could die and leave them. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Knowing that since it’s bone mets, I will never be NED, that my children will eventually lose their mom to cancer (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Fatigue (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Worrying about how long I have but not stressing about it (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Constant pain, fatigue & sudden onset menopause symptoms from the anti-hormone meds along with the everyday fear of recurrence (Mary, 48 years old)
  • CUTTING OFF YOUR BREASTS AND THE FEELING OF WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO FALL (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • That it never seems to end.  Surgery, chemo, Herceptin, 10 years of Tamoxifen. (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • My scenario has been easier than most. For me, keeping up at work with all the appointments, as well as fatigue from radiation, was hard. (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • I feel guilty and embarrassed, as if I have somehow done this to myself, although I know I did not. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Fatigue, loneliness, hair loss (Karen, 50 years old)
  • That you suffer in silence because you seem perfectly “normal” on the outside. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Worry that it will metastasize (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • How different they feel, the numbness, the deformity (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • How I look, especially I had surgery on One breast and Work hard to recover my Motion. Looks terrible and I struggle to look normal. Working full time to provide for my family. Clothing and breast prosthesis are not for me! (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Fear it will come back (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • The multiple doctors’ appointments, and the chronic health issues that accompany after chemotherapy and radiation (Caren, 52 years old)
  • The fear of getting cancer again. (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Always wondering if it’s going to come back (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • The treatments (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Tired all the time during these treatments.  After treatments are over. I will forever worry about recurrence (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • The feeling that it’s going to come back because mine has a high rate of recurrence (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Coming back (Julie, 53 years old)
  • After effects of mastectomy.  Hoping for no reoccurrence. But having faith and a good support system helps. (Kay, 53 years old)
  • Fear of recurrence (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Fear of returning. Or something missed. (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • The side effects from Tamoxifen that doctors don’t believe come from the drug (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Remembering I have a weakened immune system & being constantly cautious @ washing hands etc. (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Not having a decent functioning brain due to drugs. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • Keeping up with appointments. Being a full-time career so not just looking after myself but my husband too.  Feeling robbed of time with my grandchildren during treatment & recovery. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Having no energy to do ANYTHING the fear of it returning (Marie, 56 years old)
  • Thought of reoccurrence (Judi, 57 years old)
  • The everyday being scared that it will come back. (Julie, 57 years old)
  • Not having any support. And feeling alone. (Laura, 57 years old)
  • The fear of it coming back. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • wondering if it will come back (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Fear of recurrence (Susan, 58 years old)
  • It is constantly on your mind.  In my case my cancer was caught in time before it spread. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • The side effects from reconstruction. (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Changing my diet to exclude sugar (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • The stigma that somehow, I caused it. By diet, cleaning products, etc… (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Thinking you may die and hoping you are strong enough mentally and physically (Gill, 61 years old)
  • The unknown. The fear. The loss of control (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • I am blessed mine was caught early with an MRI done because I was positive for CHEK2. Mammogram overlooked my cancer. Mine was stage 1C and I barely avoided chemo! Had I waited until a mammogram found it, it could have been devastating.  After bilateral mastectomy my risk went from 50% to about 10%, I do worry about recurrence and with CHEK2 there are other cancer risks, but breast is the highest. Overall, my feeling is that I am blessed. I am thankful I was referred to a good Dr that was very proactive. (Susan, 61 years old)
  • You aren’t promised anything. You don’t know if it will come back and you don’t know if you will wake up tomorrow (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Knowing that you are now damaged. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Having to stop working, body pains, (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • Worried it will come back.  Hoping our leaders don’t turn their back on pre-existing conditions. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • The pity (Mary, 63 years old)
  • The lingering side effects from tamoxifen. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • I’m not living with it. I had a bilateral mastectomy (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Knowing you’re never in the clear (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • Trying to maintain good health…. the Chemo kills the cancer but with no immune system all the other ailments are never ending (amber-joy j., 69 years old)
  • Fear of future (Anonymous, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Advice

What encouragement/advice can you give others who have breast cancer?

  • Keep positive. Know you are not alone in this battle. Listen to your doctor. Fight the good fight. (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Take each day at a time, take as long as you need especially when making big decisions. Don’t return to work too quickly. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • You can beat this, stay strong and positive (Angela, 37 years old)
  • Fight and do whatever you can to get rid of it or prevent from coming back (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • never give up and you can beat it one day at a time (Paula, 39 years old)
  • It is never going to be as hard as when you first got diagnosed, it gets easier (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Stay positive (Edit, 42 years old)
  • It’s a tough ride but keep fighting (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • Live each day as it comes and try not to get ahead of yourself or read too much! (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • Take one step or Day at a time. It is not a sprint but a marathon. You need to accept help where ever possible. You should talk about it, there is no shame or taboo. Rest when you can, cancer is a lot like having a newborn.  You feel like you are sleep deprived, emotional, afraid, worn out. Get rid of people and stuff that doesn’t matter and is no longer supporting you. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Trust your gut. This is your journey…no one gets to tell you how it goes! (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • Be who you are don’t let it define you (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • it’s a shitty rollercoaster, understand that there is no norm. reach out to others with breast cancers for support i.e. Support groups on Facebook or locally. take deep breaths, there is information overload. try not to let your breast cancer diagnosis become all consuming (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • Take all the help offered to you. You will need it and then some. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • It will be a tough year of treatment, but you can do it! Also, Chemo isn’t as bad as you are led to believe (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • Take it one day at a time. (Amy, 44 years old)
  • You can do this…. listen to your dr….take someone with you to your appointments…take someone with you to your treatments…. keep yourself well hydrated…. it’s okay to snack all day and not eat full meals…go at your own pace… (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Stay positive and let God worry (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • Take everything one day at a time. Don’t let any circumstances steal your joy and faith, not matter how hard it gets. Yes, we can be sad and down in the dumps, but we need to get back up. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Ask questions, be your own advocate and learn all there is to know about your disease. Also know that every decision is your decision to make not your doctors (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • Breathe. You are still here today. Enjoy what you can of it and realize that it’s okay to cry and hate everything there is to hate about cancer. It’s okay to ask (and even politely demand) help from others. Don’t be afraid to laugh. Don’t feel guilty or “less than” for having cancer. (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Just keep pushing through. Lots of prayer (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Join a support group asap. You get unprecedented understanding and can ask questions without being judged (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Ask questions and do what you need to do to get thru it (Emily, 46 years old)
  • Keep thinking positive (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • Grateful that there is more awareness, and survival rates are longer than in the past (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Try not to freak out (I know, hard to do).  Look for advice/encouragement from those going through the same thing. (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Don’t be too self-conscious (Julie, 47 years old)
  • It seems like the end of the world when your first diagnosed but it’s a tiny part of your life. Stay positive, it’s easier for your mind to handle. (June, 47 years old)
  • Breathe and try to be positive (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Eat healthy, drink lots of fluids and rest so your body can fight. Join a support group… mine has helped so much! (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Fight, listen to your doctor, ask a lot of questions, read everything that you can (Ann, 48 years old)
  • It’s achievable    Fight it (Caz, 48 years old)
  • To get checked out more often (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Find something you can focus on that is positive & hold that dear during the dark days. for me my twin boys were 8 when I was diagnosed & I threw the maximum treatment at my cancer to ensure I would be here to see them grow up. also plan something fun/ a treat for yourself for when your treatment is done – something to give you closure to then move on (Mary, 48 years old)
  • DO WHAT FEELS GOOD FOR YOU AND IGNORE WHAT YOU WANT (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • That you will once again live a full life (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • I’m amazed at the courage I see in people who’ve had it more difficult than I. I recommend connecting with others who’ve been down a similar road, for information, insight, and encouragement. (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • Look at each treatment on its own, don’t consider the years of treatment, do one thing at a time. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Do what treatment you want (Karen, 50 years old)
  • Never give up.  You are stronger than you realize. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Do whatever you can live with (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • Keep going! It will not last forever. (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • Be Positive and never give up no matter what. Move and get up. be patient! (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Join a support group like breast cancer buddies uk (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • Continue to self-educate and advocate (Caren, 52 years old)
  • You will be okay. Just remember to breathe. They’re only boobs – they don’t make you who you are (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Put your trust in God (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • Faith is the number 1 thing (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Doctors have thus down pat.  The treatments are proven. Listen to doctors. Adhere to their plan and you will survive. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • You can get through this. (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • It’s your journey do what you want for yourself (Julie, 53 years old)
  • Explore all your options and do what you feel is best for you and what you feel gives you peace of mind. (Kay, 53 years old)
  • Rely on your support system (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Stay away from negative people. (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • Breathe, it’s all doable, and to remember this is a marathon not a sprint (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Eat foods in moderation, exercise daily, Embrace your Hobby (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • One day at a time. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • Positive attitude, faith in God, a support network around you, I had my family, my Church family and lots of friends to help me, accept all help offered and ask for help. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Bring a pad and pencil with you because everything is thrown at you at once. (Marie, 56 years old)
  • Take one day at a time (Judi, 57 years old)
  • Believe in your doctors and stay positive. (Julie, 57 years old)
  • Fight till the end. (Laura, 57 years old)
  • Life goes on, live one day at a time. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • try to stay positive; be honest with your team, tell them what you need.  If it’s too much emotionally, ask for help either via therapy or meds (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Take care of yourself!! Eat healthy, exercise and take supplements. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Ask questions.  Talk with your breast nurse, doctors, and others who have experienced the type of cancer you have.  Pray to God! (Susan, 59 years old)
  • Stay positive and active (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Stay positive, don’t feel sorry for yourself, pray (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • No one has the answers so just do your best and enjoy life to the fullest (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Be strong when you can. You are entitled to be upset and feel shit. Say “fuck you, cancer” every day (Gill, 61 years old)
  • Breathe. Lean on your support group. Let go of trying to control the outcome (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • Never give up!! Fight Fight Fight (Susan, 61 years old)
  • Stay positive, laugh as often as you can, ask for help when you need it, accept help when it’s offered (Tina, 61 years old)
  • We all die. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Faith, hope and love and a personal relationship with God. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • Stay as active as you can!  Do yoga (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Rest when your body tells you to, don’t push yourself to “be well.” (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Drink lots of water and try and get as much rest as you can. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Create a support group (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Keep on going make the best of everyday (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • Advice: Ask your oncologist what ailments you are likely to have after the treatment.  Ask about your immune system and being anemic… (amber-joy j., 69 years old)
  • Mammograms (Anonymous, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Diet and Exercise

What’s been your experience with diet and exercise?

  • Trying to add more fruit and going walking when possible. (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • I’ve always exercised loads. Post-surgery getting back into it was fine. On Tamoxifen I have little or no desire to move. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • I have tried to keep fit and eat healthy even before my cancer. I still enjoy my life and not overly strict with everything (Angela, 37 years old)
  • I have changed my life style and are on supplements and products that balance your blood sugars and to get your gut healthy. (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • I work out or swim 2-3 times per week (Paula, 39 years old)
  • I’m trying to cut out on meat and eat organic food. (Odette, 40 years old)
  • We should keep moving and watch what we are eating (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Tamoxifen weight gain.  Taste buds not the same after chemo (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • Was very into both before diagnosis, been on a break so may revisit the idea in the future. (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • Haven’t really done any REAL exercise and diet was difficult through treatment as everything tasted funny. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • I’m so tired. I can barely do the exercise like I used to. Eating healthy makes no difference in the tiredness factor. (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • No change in diet except cut out caffeine (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • Bahahaha (Amanda, 43 years old)
  • I’m immobile with metastisic breast cancer in my sacrum, so sort of irrelevant at moment. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • I started exercising more after finishing my active treatment. I now get about 250 minutes per week. It gives me an energy boost (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • My diet hasn’t been affected but my energy level has been diminished which affects ability to exercise. (Amy, 44 years old)
  • No energy to exercise…. if you can walk up and down your hallway do so (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Stay as healthy and active as possible (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • I used to be very good at running and swimming, and I really should pick back up on those. It’s harder for me to swim, because my range of motion was affected. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • I eat what I want and am a healthy body weight (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • My diet needs to include more veggies. I was training for a half marathon when diagnosed and have only walked in the past few months since diagnosis. I miss running! It was a way to deal with stress/anxiety, but I don’t have that release while going through reconstruction & post op healing. (I did just get cleared to run, so cannot comment on reconstruction going forward.) (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Difficult with the pain and fatigue (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Harder when on Tamoxifen. Trying to eat healthier. Exercised a lot before breast cancer and try to increase it even more. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Hate it (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Very hard to exercise during treatment. Bought a bike exercise machine and practiced yoga. Had a lot if fatigue and exhaustion (Emily, 46 years old)
  • Not a lot (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • I’ve gained weight since double mastectomy, because I was told to take it easy, then energy level is low because of tamoxifen. (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Hasn’t changed at all (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Eat what I want and get plenty of exercise, I say keep off the lounge as much as possible (Julie, 47 years old)
  • Diet I lost 3 stone and exercise I’m just walking so far. Not a lot of strength in my arm yet (June, 47 years old)
  • It’s difficult when you’re feeling like crap. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • I have always been able to eat what I want. My job kept me active as far as exercising… (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Forced menopause sucks. I gained a lot of weight and now it’s hard to lose it. I exercise a lot although running has become harder due to fatigue and I am strong and healthy. (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Always done both (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Only walking as having chemo right now (Christine, 48 years old)
  • I watch what I eat most days & walk 3-5 miles per day – no matter how bad my legs/feet hurt & still gain weight… (Mary, 48 years old)
  • EXERCISE DOES HELP, EAT WHAT YOU WANT THROUGH YOUR TREATMENT, BE NICE TO YOURSELF (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • Makes me feel so much better.  Stopped the hot flashes. (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • I have maintained regular exercise (mainly walking and dancing). I’ve keep my diet the same (not a fan of meat, although I eat seafood), and I have not had significant weight change. (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • I love exercise and am frustrated to not be able to get a good sweat going every day due to my meniscus tear. I believe exercise will help with healing and treatment. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Still hard to exercise but I had a full hysterectomy 28/6 (Karen, 50 years old)
  • I continued to lift weights. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • I’m tired but I keep trying (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • My neuropathy in my feet make it hard for me but I go with my daughter. Food wasn’t my friend. Nauseous every day sometimes during eating (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • I always eat healthy and exercise save me. Not just physically Mentally to! Even when I felt tired and pain all over my body I went for a long walk and after I felt better. (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Gentle exercise stops depression (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • I exercise daily and have changed my diet by omitting many things (Caren, 52 years old)
  • I need to do better (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • I don’t diet, and I don’t exercise but I should (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • Hard to diet and eat healthy when you are nauseated.  But it does help. Just started exercising about 5-6 weeks ago. And it has helped. I feel stronger and I have better motion in my arms even with all the scars. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • I’ve started exercising more and lost about 15 lbs. (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Eating green not sugars excessive us hard if you are taking some medication as it affects your body with fatigue and aching (Julie, 53 years old)
  • Need a healthy diet. The more organic, more vegetables, no refined sugar. Need some sort of exercise program. (Kay, 53 years old)
  • I haven’t really changed any of it. (Deb, 54 years old)
  • I need some. (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • Diet is pretty much the same exercise is harder now because of the side effect of treatment (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • I did both regularly- I stopped for @6 wks. & gained back the weight- so be consistent (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Eat whatever your body craves for, its usually right. Walking is good. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • I ate and drank anything I felt like. I also have quite severe arthritis so physically limited with exercise. Because of lowered immune system due to surgery, chemo & radiation I didn’t go swimming which was my exercise before diagnosis. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • I can’t exercise because I can barely stand on my feet that long. I didn’t really change my diet. (Marie, 56 years old)
  • Try to eat clean and exercise daily (Judi, 57 years old)
  • I stayed the same weight throughout treatment. Once finished by eating healthier no sugar, breads, dairy, or chips. Lots of vegetables and fruit grains flax seed I have lost about 18 pounds.  Now exercise I hate. I walk and try to do exercise to build up my core. (Julie, 57 years old)
  • Just eating whatever I have. (Laura, 57 years old)
  • The meds have caused me to gain weight and sometimes the exercise is painful. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • I need to be better about both (Karen, 58 years old)
  • I don’t know if it’ll keep the cancer from recurring, but I feel good. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • I have a friend who has stage 4 breast cancer and she was diagnosed in 2005 and she has taught me so much about nutrition.  She is a living example that diet, and exercise works! (Susan, 59 years old)
  • I am diabetic and so my diet is based on that. My exercise level is also based on being a diabetic as I don’t want to gain weight. (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Only organic no sugar, exercise 3-4 times week (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • Diet has been no meat or dairy and mostly plant based. Exercise is harder due to aches and stiffness. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • I was just grateful to get through the day when I was ill but started thinking about it as soon as I was well enough (Gill, 61 years old)
  • Lost some weight at first due to stress. Hard to exercise when I am so bone tired (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • No changes (Susan, 61 years old)
  • Eat ice cream now, you may not be able to eat anything next year if you die. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • I’m also diabetic and am limited with exercise with all the body pain. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • Heathy Whole Foods. No dairy and plenty of yoga!  I did so much yin yoga prior to surgery I really believe it’s why my range of motion came back right away. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • I have gained 17 pounds since first diagnosed because I have not had the physical or emotional energy to exercise. No change in diet. (Mary, 63 years old)
  • I lost weight while going through treatment. Now into my 3rd year of tamoxifen I have gained a lot of weight. Mainly in my belly. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • I continue to exercise. My diet was pretty clean to start with. I don’t eat any meat or fish. (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Work in progress every day and can’t lose weight (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • I chose to cut out red meat because of the hormones that is used to breed animals quickly for consumption and the way the animals are treated before they are slaughtered…. they are so stressed out and then we consume the ‘stressed’ meat…… I drink healthy juiced veggies… Do exercise, but also rest when tired…. (amber-joy j., 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Treatments

What’s been your experience with treatments (medication, surgery, etc.)?

  • Nausea and fatigue as normal after chemo. Hair loss was expected but I am coping good with it. (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Surgery was amazing, my scars are great. Waiting for radiotherapy currently. Tamoxifen is hard. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • I had single mastectomy with reconstruction. 4 rounds of chemo and now on tamoxifen. Mastectomy was hard, still don’t feel my boob is me, wish I went for double. Chemo was not as bad as I thought it would be, I was not as ill as I wasn’t expecting. Tamoxifen is horrible, moods, brain fog and weight. (Angela, 37 years old)
  • I have a dbl mastectomy, little over 6 months chemo and 34 days of radiation. Now on tamoxifen for recommended 10 years- only on month 3 (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • good 5 surgeries and chemo and radiation you do heal (Paula, 39 years old)
  • It’s hard but doable (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Hot flashes (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Tamoxifen is evil…  tougher than chemo but I’ll take it as long is needed so I can watch my babies grow up. (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • It all stinks so just take each treatment one day at a time. Sometimes it’s psychological more than physical pain, so I consult with my Ativan when needed. Its ok to feel weak, this was hard to accept. (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • I have had a left side mastectomy, with reconstruction of an implant, 4 months of chemo, docetaxel with a severe allergic reaction, then paclitaxel weekly for 6 rounds. Then radiotherapy for 25 doses. Started in October 2016 and finished April 2017. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Tamoxifen is the devil. I don’t feel like myself. It took me almost a year and a half to recover from double mastectomy and reconstruction. (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • Just in chemo right now. It’s been ok just nausea and hair loss and fatigue (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • Yuck, yuck. Makes you sick. You have no idea what your body can take and then they just make you take more until you die. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • I had a lumpectomy, 6 months of chemo (AC+T) and 20 rounds of radiation. I’m now on Tamoxifen for the next 20 years (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • Testing (12/16-2/17); surgery (2/28/17); radiation (5/17-6/17) prescribed tamoxifen but not taking it (Amy, 44 years old)
  • Double mastectomy wasn’t that bad…expected much worse…surround yourself with positive people (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Bilateral Mastectomy and tamoxifen (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • My surgery left me with charlie horses on my right side, but they are getting less and less painful or frequent. My hardest treatment was probably radiation. I had chemo as well, but I never threw up. I did have nausea. That was no fun. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Radiation is a nuisance, but it ends. Tamoxifen is NOT as bad as everyone says, and many people don’t have side effects (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • I have great (and compassionate) surgeons, incl. staff! I hate my scar, but the PS says he’ll make it neater. I don’t like the side effects of Tamoxifen. I feel like I have no youth left. I wanted kids and feel like cancer stole my last chance. It’s one thing to know you’re getting to that age and another to have the door slammed in your face. (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Mostly positive (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • I only had surgery and radiation and then Tamoxifen. Loads of side effects from it. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Tamoxifen is horrible but better than getting cancer again (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • I have had 8 ops bit am happy am still alive and kicking (Jane b., 46 years old)
  • Double Mastectomy was surprisingly easy to recover from, expanders were awkward, love my new breasts but miss having feeling in breast and nipple area. Tamoxifen has caused vertigo, joint pain, weight gain, low energy (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Not too much pain with the surgeries.  Radiation wasn’t bad, other than the sunburn-like aspects and finding bras that were comfortable.  Side effects from Tamoxifen weren’t bad, mostly it was hot flashes.  The effects on my body after my 5-year course were much worse, i.e., heavy periods, depression (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Brilliant, the hospital did a Wonderful job. I believe if I wasn’t a Diabetic Chemo would have been a breeze (Julie, 47 years old)
  • I sailed through the mastectomy and reconstruction.  Worse bit was the neuralgia in my arm.  I take tamoxifen now and it makes me very moody. (June, 47 years old)
  • Tamoxifen makes me feel like I’m 80. It’s a horrible drug. Not all women are the same, yet we are treated with the same dose?? (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Haven’t started chemo yet, but the surgery was awful! As a woman losing my breast has been hard to accept. And my drain tube is excruciating! (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Tamoxifen and Arimidex and Lupron Depot. They put me in menopause and my joints ache and I gained weight. That sucks but I have a good life. (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Surgery was ok, chemo horrible (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Had a double mastectomy, nodes removed radiation for a small bone cancer now having chemo (Christine, 48 years old)
  • I had a Bilateral Mastectomy then 16 brutal rounds of chemo then 34 radiation treatments then ovaries removed & breast reconstruction and last anti-Estrogen meds for 10 years (Mary, 48 years old)
  • SURGERY WAS TOUGH BUT NOW OVER, TAMOXIFEN REACTS DIFFERENTLY WITH DIFFERENT WOMEN, DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • Manage tamoxifen fairly well.  Thought chemo would kill me. Had no problems with Herceptin. (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • The needle procedures were the ickiest (biopsy, radioactive seed placement). I was most fatigued about a week after radiation ended. I still have fatigue, and hot flashes & forgetfulness, from taking Tamoxifen. It’s a little difficult if you’re most, because a lot of people see this part of your anatomy. (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • I got a giant infection following my second surgery. It was awful getting it finally diagnosed and treated. So much wasted time in ER before a doctor finally agreed I needed IV meds. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Chemo nearly killed me, and oncologist stopped it.  Ended up in hospital for a week after each treatment. (Karen, 50 years old)
  • My mastectomy was not as scary as I thought.  The expander is uncomfortable but tolerable. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Arimidex makes me not sleep and makes my joints hurt (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • Had a lumpectomy on the right and reconstruction of my left (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • Chemo was hard Usually after 3 days. not bad with all supporting pills (steroids. Hated Neuprogen needles (Nada, 51 years old)
  • I hate taking tamoxifen because of side effects (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • I have allergic to many drugs ad foods. Surgery went well, but post-operative infections have occurred. (Caren, 52 years old)
  • I had an excellent doctor for surgery and my radiation team was awesome. (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Reconstruction seems to be my worst part (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • Side effects from chemo (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • All has been positive.  I’ve done extremely well.   Missed two weeks of work for double mastectomy.  Other than that. Have worked through except for the 1/2 day of chemo treatments. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • Mastectomy of left breast, 4 rounds of chemo that end August 16, and then tamoxifen for at least 5 years. (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • I wish I had never taken some of the medication as they cause more problems. Surgery isn’t an issue as it needs to be done to get rid of the cancer (Julie, 53 years old)
  • I did surgery and supplements. Diet changes (Kay, 53 years old)
  • Radiation caused some skin irritation and fatigue. Tamoxifen caused hot flashes brain fog, and GI upset. (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Lumpectomy (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • I’m currently taking Tamoxifen and for as long as the medication has been on the market it’s VERY disappointing that doctors still don’t believe the patient when we complain about different side effects (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • 15 months after starting Tamoxifen, I developed a low-grade migraine – 24/7, never goes away… had the whole gamut of tests. finally, I went off everything but Tom. To confirm 2 months later still had them. (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Doable. Not fussed on the on trailing treatments. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • All went smoothly. Take nausea medication as needed. Keep fluids up. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Still have reconstruction ahead of me. My surgical team at Moffitt in Tampa FL were fantastic (Judi, 57 years old)
  • While I had my chemo 4 AC and 4 Taxol treatments I took a supplement called Coriolis PSP which I think really helped with my white blood count staying up there. I will continue to take forever.  I had a lumpectomy and two lymph nodes removed. Margins we’re clear and nodes negative. She did a great job can’t even see the scare. (Julie, 57 years old)
  • Two surgeries. Bad doctor decisions (Laura, 57 years old)
  • Listen to your Dr and take meds when needed. Surgery wasn’t as bad as I imagined since I had expander put it at time of mastectomy. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • it was a long, hard journey.  It quickly took my hair, my nails, and on many days my spirit.  It is hard.  But you need to power thorough.  Gather your people and your supports and do the best you can (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Too many surgeries!! Would not recommend tram flap reconstruction. Still having issues with hair, lashes and brows being very thin. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • The first chemo side effects were tough.  Surgery went well, removed left breast. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • I had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy the first time. Got third degree burns from radiation. The second time I had a bilateral skin saving mastectomy and a DEIP flap reconstruction. Both successful. I tried taking Tamoxifen the first time but had a bad reaction. Then tried Femora but couldn’t stand the bone pain. Didn’t take anything else. (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • I went thru all things well (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • Standard. Chemo plus Herceptin and Pejeta. Horrible weight gain with steroids and now Arimidex. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Too much to answer. Chemo went well but was shitty and wore me out so did surgery. Rads burnt me to bits but healed. Letrozole gave me terrible pain. Now on tamoxifen even though I’m post-menopausal (Gill, 61 years old)
  • My medical team is great. I trust them, they listen, and they care (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • Bilateral mastectomy with lat flap reconstruction. I was started in Exemestane, but the joint/bone pain became severe, so I was switched to tamoxifen. It has been kind to me! (Susan, 61 years old)
  • I had a lumpectomy and my surgeon had to go back in because the edges weren’t clear. Chemo kept me from working for 5 months but I worked every day through radiation (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Everything smooth sailing except for the r.t.  the staff was horrible. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Life has changed completely for me. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • Surgery was good had a double mastectomy with reconstruction same time.  Recovery quick.  Now I’m on tamoxifen and few side effects (Janice, 63 years old)
  • My treatment has been caring and efficient (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Chemotherapy was rough, but radiation was easy for me. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Double mastectomy 4 rounds of chemo now on Arimidex for 10 years. Yikes. (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Many surgeries good recovery. Nothing relieves the pain an anxiety! (Sandra, 67 years old)
  • Surgery and treatment was fine, very expensive but Medical Aid paid…. the problem comes once I went into remission, ailments which could cause the cancer to return is not covered by Medical Aid… its ridiculous (amber-joy j., 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Recommendations

Anything you’d recommend for someone with breast cancer?

  • Bring a fluffy blanket to chemo, a book, headphones. Wear bright colors to feel cheerful. Live your life as normal as you can. Don’t let this stop you in your tracks! (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Primark (UK and Europe based) have pretty lace bras with no underwriting and they’re cheap, so if your shape is changing you can buy a few to feel pretty and replace without too much expense if needed. They also do matching sets, it’s important to feel attractive. M&S post-surgery bras are brilliant. Angela Bare vintage clothing in Brislington, UK, is raising money so all women who’ve had mastectomies can have their first post op bra for free. Stress no more website has paraben free lubricants and other things to help with libido, it’s not a seedy sex shop and they’re fast with dispatch (Gail, 34 years old)
  • Don’t always listen to people on how to ‘cure’ yourself. It’s nothing you’ve done. Just keep positive and look at the best of the shit situation you’ve been dealt. If you get negative you won’t get out of it. (Angela, 37 years old)
  • If you need chemo smoking weed helps. (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • find the right surgeons who listen. keep living and nap if you want (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Speak about it and it wasn’t your fault! (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Stay positive (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Don’t google…  the doctor who diagnosed me told me not to and I never did… (Jackie, 42 years old)
  • Keep your spirit up and surround yourself with positive people as much as possible. (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • Ask for support and be very kind to yourself. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Find someone who has gone through it. The only advice you should take is from someone who has been there. (Roberta, 42 years old)
  • Be you always be you don’t let it define you. Have a sense of humor (Shawna, 42 years old)
  • Don’t get it (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Join a support group. Look for the positives. Apply for a LPHOH retreat. (Amy, 44 years old)
  • Kick those negative and unsupportive people to the curb (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Rest and be active in your treatment (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • If you have chemo, try to keep some food on your stomach. I know that might sound counterintuitive, but I kept food on my stomach and never threw up. If you keep feeling nausea a walk to get some fresh air helps as well. Take the anti-nausea pills they give you before you have nausea. That also helps. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Educate yourself and make your own choices (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. There are good days and bad days. Humor is good. Be sure to find something to smile about every day, even if it’s just that someone hung a fresh roll of toilet paper. Take any offer of help people give, don’t be afraid to delegate! Be feisty if need be. 😉 (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Prayer (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • Don’t give up. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Do something for yourself- a 5k, a tattoo, donate to charity, something that signifies you retaking control of your life. (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Talk to someone who us, has had treatment (Emily, 46 years old)
  • Didn’t realize breast cancer can show up in other parts of body, thought double Mastectomy would cure me of breast cancer forever. (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Stay strong and try to be positive – there are a lot of survivors out there (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Keep your head up and fully utilize your support network (Julie, 47 years old)
  • Always get a second opinion, go for the top cancer hospitals.  And get help in dealing with your emotions.  It’s a roller coaster ride from hell. Support groups help. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Join a support group!! Talk with people who have gone through or are going through it. You need an excellent caregiver as well. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • Do yourself exams and if you feel something-do not second guess yourself. Go to the doctor and even though they tell you that you don’t have a strong history, keep going. (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Support (Caz, 48 years old)
  • I don’t know but to make sure they have a good support system (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Talk to others in support groups, make friends with your nurses – they are your best resource, be open & honest with your spouse/significant other and family about how you are feeling, ask for help & be specific. most people want to help but don’t know how to help. they usually say let me know if you need anything – Tell them what you need like a ride to chemo or to pick up groceries etc. (Mary, 48 years old)
  • BE NICE TO YOURSELF (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • Make sure you have a good support system. (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • Connect with others for encouragement. Take time for yourself. Be willing to let people help/support you. (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • take things slow and rest. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Do your research, form a support network, even if only on Facebook. (Karen, 50 years old)
  • Ask lots and lots of questions. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Stay positive (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • Pay attention to your body (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • Exercise eat healthy Be positive love yourself yoga Surround yourself with positive people! (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Talk about it (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • Expect a lot of medical exposure. Ask questions and having family and friends’ involvement is very important. (Caren, 52 years old)
  • Radiaplex for Radisson – use it. Join a support group, online or in person. (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Have close friends you can call or rely on (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • To keep your Faith (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Take lots of vitamins if you can’t eat healthy.  Drink as much water as you can stand and then drink more.  Keep on moving and you’ll be fine! (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • Listen to your gut. And ask lots of questions. If you don’t feel comfortable with your Dr, get a new one. (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Listen to your body and do what suits you, everyone has an opinion listen to what people say but do what is right for you (Julie, 53 years old)
  • You can get through this! Do what you want to do not what everyone else says. It is your body, so you decide. (Kay, 53 years old)
  • Take baby steps and deal with one thing at a time (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Breathe, and make sure in the beginning to (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Research what you don’t understand, ask lots of questions, (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Hang towels down low. After surgery you won’t be reaching up high for quite a while. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • Sleep when you can, have activities that keep you occupied, eat whatever you can. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Get a maid. (Marie, 56 years old)
  • Go to a reputable clinic that specializes in breast cancer (Judi, 57 years old)
  • Just stay positive and read as much as you can about your type of cancer. (Julie, 57 years old)
  • ? (Laura, 57 years old)
  • Lean on God and your family. Ask if you have questions. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • Figure out who your people are (not always who you think they are going to be) and let them help you.  this is too big to do by yourself (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Have faith!! (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Be good to yourself and listen to your body as you go through treatment. (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Get a good wig (Nikki, 60 years old)
  • Get standard treatment but also do homeopathic. Live your life to the fullest. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Make sure you understand what they are doing to you and possible side effects (Gill, 61 years old)
  • Always bring someone with you for doctor apps, and be careful about reading the internet (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • Stay positive! See my Doctor, he’s the best! (Susan, 61 years old)
  • Stay positive there’s already enough negativity in the world (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Do what your doctors tell you to do.  Don’t “refuse” this or that recommended treatment if you value your life. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Build your faith in God. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • YOGA!!! (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Stay positive. Let people love you. (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Take it one day at a time (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Support group (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Be strong, be positive, Have Faith and pray, find support groups, and talk about your experience to encourage others…. if you see a bald lady in a shopping Mall go and chat to her with a smile…… It will brighten her day… (amber-joy, 69 years old)

 

 

Breast Cancer Resources

What specific resources have you found most helpful?

  • Talking to my ONC. Leaflets. Support groups. (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • Facebook groups. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • Just the internet and google. breast cancer websites. All of them (Angela, 37 years old)
  • on line support groups (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Forums (Odette, 40 years old)
  • Support groups on fb (Edit, 42 years old)
  • Support groups, but again do not spend too much time in support groups. Sometimes the loudest people are the ones with the issues that are rare. Our experiences really are individual and may not be as bad or good as the next….so why compare?! (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • Nurses and patient where I had treatment. They had useful tips and made it feel like you weren’t alone. (Nicola, 42 years old)
  • Local cancer wellness center (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Facebook groups- like “young women with breast cancer ” (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • FB support groups. (Amy, 44 years old)
  • Friends who have gone thru the same thing….my church family….my family…Gracie foundation (Angie, 44 years old)
  • Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer book (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • My family and friends have been the most supportive in my journey. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Breastcancer.org and American cancer society are reliable (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • BreastCancer.org, YSC, the nurse navigator at the cancer center, Ford Warriors in Pink/Green Chef, YouTube (for surgery videos & patient experiences), FB groups for breast reconstruction, PlasticSurgery.org, nydoctorprofile.com, local in-person breast cancer support group (Marie, 45 years old)
  • Breastcancer.org and breast cancer champions on fb (Michelle, 45 years old)
  • The internet has given me much more information than my doctor. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Local support group and FB support groups (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • Tamoxifen support group on Facebook (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • Breastcancer.org (Anica, 47 years old)
  • The hospital and all the professionals there & support networks (Julie, 47 years old)
  • Nothing. Everything freaks me out. So many contradictions in research and oncology opinions.  Like I said every woman is different.  Every cancer is different. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • My support group on Facebook (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • American Cancer Society (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Breast cancer face book support group (Caz, 48 years old)
  • Breast cancer network and other sites (Christine, 48 years old)
  • Breastcancer.org was my favorite resource when I was diagnosed & going thru treatment. their articles & forums were awesome. I met a few women going thru same treatment at same time as me and we are still friends today. The Facebook groups are also a good resource to connect with others going thru similar treatment; my medical team has also been a great resource responding promptly to all questions concerns or issues immediately and lastly my husband was and still is my rock. he listens and still tells me I am beautiful. I know I am lucky. Our community also was wonderful especially when I was going through treatment. setting up a meal plan, bringing hot home cooked meals for my husband & kids; we are blessed (Mary, 48 years old)
  • FRIENDS AND FAMILY (PETRIN, 48 years old)
  • Tamoxifen Support Group on Facebook and Immerman Angels (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • Tamoxifen Facebook page, breastcancer.org, hopkinsbreastcenter.org, breast cancer.ca (Rachel, 49 years old)
  • BCNA, internet (Karen, 50 years old)
  • Support groups. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Other patients (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • Dr and nurses. Literature (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • Internet! (Nada, 51 years old)
  • Breast cancer care, Macmillan, breast cancer buddies UK (Wendy, 51 years old)
  • My Master’s degree training. (Caren, 52 years old)
  • Facebook for support groups. (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • Help with lymphedema garments (Sherry, 52 years old)
  • American Cancer institute (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Support groups on Facebook. I’m not a person to person kind if gal. (Barbara, 53 years old)
  • I have done lots of research on the internet (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • Forums on each part of the journey (Julie, 53 years old)
  • On line support groups. I can’t go to one as I work crazy hours (Deb, 54 years old)
  • Only one face book page has been so much help. (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • Social media support groups (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Private Facebook group- “Breast Friends” & another is a group for Tamoxifen users (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Tamoxifen Facebook groups, bnca.org.au forum (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • Good pillow, cancer nurses are a wealth of information ask questions. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Facebook support pages (Judi, 57 years old)
  • Keep yourself clean. (Laura, 57 years old)
  • My support group, family and God. (Debbie, 58 years old)
  • breastcancer.org    Facebook support groups (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Facebook support groups. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Breast nurse.  Bible. Prayers. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • I was treated at the John’s Hopkins Avon breast cancer center. Their support and resources are wonderful. (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • Facebook private groups. Real people experiences. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Forums and personal research. Information from BCN also excellent (Gill, 61 years old)
  • Breast navigator and support group. (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • Facebook support groups (Susan, 61 years old)
  • My wonderful family, great support from friends (Tina, 61 years old)
  • My coworkers and family. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • online support groups (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • Nurse Navigator (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Sites started by breast cancer survivors (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Fb support group and family. (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • Finding a hobby…. I started doing Ancestry and managed to find I had a sister in Canada and a brother in New Zealand……  Going to Bible Study, there’s always something new and interesting to learn no matter what your age may be…. Walking alongside ‘new’ cancer patients, helping them to get over ‘fear’ (amber-joy j., 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Stories

Share your breast cancer story.

  • Discovered lump in February 2017. GP said it’s just a cyst, don’t worry. Referred me to clinic. Appointment didn’t come until May. Clinic doctor and surgeon said it’s fibroid adenoma. Biopsy week after. She said it’s fibroids with a cyst inside. Back week later for results. Woops! Breast cancer after all. Started chemo in June. It’s been alright so far. I won’t complain. Must be done. Mother had it, aunt had it 4 times, and most of their aunts so it’s in our genetics. (Tanya, 25 years old)
  • This is what I posted to Facebook when I realized I had the opportunity to help encourage others to get checked. The day we went on holiday to Bordeaux I found a lump in my right breast while I was in the shower. I’d found it a couple of weeks before and just assumed it was a bit of rib (I’m quite bony up top) but this time it felt different. I made a Dr appointment for when we were back, and I tried to forget about it and enjoy the holiday. On return from holiday I popped along to my Dr appointment and was told that ‘clinically this doesn’t feel like cancer, but I’ll refer you to the breast clinic for reassurance’. I had an initial check up at the breast clinic where the first consultant I saw said he didn’t think it was anything to worry about, but they booked me an appointment for an ultrasound, just to be safe. The ultrasound appointment came along, and the consultant found the lump and sent me immediately for a mammogram and biopsy, which mentally I was completely unprepared for, I thought they’d tell me to stop being soft and send me on my way. I was called in for my results and I was quite relaxed about the whole thing as everybody had said it was nothing to worry about, and it was right then and there that the third consultant told me that my biopsy had come back and showed that the lump was cancer. I had breast cancer! I’m 34 years old and my boobs barely fill an egg cup! How could I have breast cancer? I felt like I’d just walked into a brick wall. I was so very lucky as the cancer in my breast was found early on and would be very easy to treat. In listening to the consultant and the breast nurse it became apparent that I had cancer because of the amount of estrogen naturally produced by my body, my own body was trying to bring about my early demise. The best way to treat this type of cancer at this stage is a breast conserving surgery (known as a lumpectomy) and lymph node removal and biopsy, followed by 4 weeks of radiotherapy and then several years of hormone drugs which will put my body into a menopausal state, at 34, having had no children. I had the surgery on 11th July, they removed the lump and the lymph node to check if it had spread from my breast. The first place it would go would be to the lymph nodes and then it could be carried through my lymphatic system around my whole body. As you can imagine the wait between the surgery and the results was a really, really worrying time for me, Simon, our family and friends. What if it had spread? What if it was busy making a nest in another part of my body? My mind was running wild, especially as it was so unlikely that I would have had it in the first place, so every time someone told me it was unlikely that it would have spread, it meant absolutely nothing. Last Saturday I received the wonderful news that the lymph node biopsy had come back clear, and the lump had been successfully removed with no cancer cells present in the margin surrounding the lump. Best news ever! So now I just need to move onto radiotherapy and 5 years of hormone drugs. Just. I know I sound like I’m moaning, I’m not really, I’m very grateful to have been treated so quickly and to be clear of cancer just 8 weeks after finding the lump. The guilt that I feel for knowing that I will go back to leading a normal life when there are those who aren’t as lucky as I am and who have a tough fight, is immeasurable. I don’t think I will ever lose that, nor will I ever lose the absolute paranoia every time my breasts hurt, or something doesn’t feel quite right. So, what I’m really getting at is that none of us are super human, none of us are immune to this horrible disease, and although I was only aware of it for a few brief weeks, it will be part of my life forever. It won’t define me, but it has already changed my life so much, and this is only the beginning. Please, please, please ladies check your boobs, and guys check your moobs! It could happen to any of us at any time, it’s not ageist or sexist and it doesn’t care what else you have going on now. If you find something in or on your body that shouldn’t be there, then get it checked out. If it’s nothing, what’s the worst that can happen? Your GP will tell you not to worry. But if it is something then those 5 minutes with your GP could save your life. You’re worth those 5 minutes. (Gail, 34 years old)
  • I was 34 when I was diagnosed. No family history of cancer let alone breast cancer. My hubby felt it before me. Thought nothing of it at first. Then went to the GP and he was very concerned, when I was sent for ultrasound and mammogram I knew deep down it was cancer. Still a shock to hear those words. Had single mastectomy with reconstruction. Lucky to find out it was not aggressive and had not spread to lymph nodes. (Angela, 37 years old)
  • My 14-month-old was weaning himself from breastfeeding and mostly used nursed at bedtime. I felt a large lump under my right breast but never thought it could be anything. I was thinking it was hormones, but it didn’t go away after my second menstrual cycle, so I went in to have it checked out in June 2016. Dr ordered mammogram and right after an ultrasound. Then a biopsy was needed. I wasn’t going to wait till next week to have it done so I said I would be at the hospital anytime to get it done. They said they would fit me in at 645am the next morning. It came back as DCIS. I went to Marshfield for treatment and surgery. I had a dbl mastectomy July 14, 2016 and they found invasive cancer, so I had a little over 6mths of chemo as I got sick so one of my treatments was delayed. First chemo treatment was 8/5/2016. Last was 1/2017. Then radiation for 34days. Last day of radiation was 3/16/2017. Now it will be one year and about 2 mths since my dbl mastectomy and I will be going for my implants Sept 2017. I was put on tamoxifen for a recommended 10years. (Jennifer, 37 years old)
  • https://t.co/NbWcOLOnjr (Paula, 39 years old)
  • Sure (Melissa, 42 years old)
  • I was diagnosed when I was 41 after a routine mammogram. No family history of breast cancer so it was a big shock! (Marcia, 43 years old)
  • I’m a survivor. (Amy, 44 years old)
  • I was diagnosed 3 months after my sister passed away from it. I had nipple discharge which sent me immediately into exams and finally being diagnosed with DCIS. I chose to have a double mastectomy since it is hereditary in my family and need to be aggressive for my family. I have a 2-year-old. Since my surgery 4 weeks ago, I’m drain free, cancer free and waiting for treatment answers to come back. I will always fight and always have hope. (Courtney, 44 years old)
  • I found my lump somewhere between November/December of 2014. I didn’t let my mind get too serious about it. It could be anything. It felt like a clogged milk duct. I hadn’t nursed since my little boy was about 2 1/2. I knew that wasn’t just a clogged milk duct, but I thought it could be a calcified milk duct. As most of you know, or will start to discover, when you get a cancer diagnosis you often start looking back and wondering how you might have developed it. What I have begun to do instead is to look back and see how cancer has changed my life for the better. I could spend the rest of my life worrying about where it all came from and never come to a solid conclusion. A more productive way to look at this cancer is to see how I can help others going through what I have been through and will go through. A more productive way to look at this cancer is to start LIVING: help others, love others, be passionate in what you do rather than just trying to earn another dollar or impress another person. I remember my husband coming home from work one day and saying that he found out why a lady in human resources had been so mean to him and other staff lately. He didn’t put two and two together until about November, when she started wearing her scarves to work. She told the office she had breast cancer. Before he told me about this, I never felt angry toward her. I always try to see the world through a lens of compassion. (Believe me, when I’m in Houston traffic that’s a challenge though). I knew something had to be going on in her personal life for her to act like that. I remember meeting her at a Christmas party just a year before, and she was so nice and friendly. When I heard about her diagnosis I wanted to feel her pain. I never imagined I would literally feel her pain. That said, at least I can say “I know what you’re going through” and mean it, while others who don’t have a cancer diagnosis shy away completely because they don’t know what to say or give you all kinds of unsolicited advice. I have found a ton of support. I don’t spend my time wondering whether some are genuinely supportive, or just hanging around the lady with breast cancer to be in on the story. That’s really none of my business. My business is to make people feel better about themselves, to love themselves as I have felt loved. My mammogram and ultrasound that led up to my diagnosis were done on January 14, 2015. I was remarkably calm. It could be anything. I had no history of breast cancer in my direct line. My aunt had breast cancer, but I didn’t consider that “direct line”. My mother had cervical cancer. If I was going to get cancer, I figured it would be from that, not breast cancer. I even remained calm when they told me they wanted to do a biopsy. They found something, yes. It still could be a calcified milk duct. They just wanted to see what it was. I came alone. I had never had a biopsy. I was kind of wanting my husband to be there, because I was getting ready to experience an unknown. He had just gotten home from work when I was able to call them. It was getting toward the end of the day for the office staff at the imaging clinic. I went ahead and had the biopsy done without him. Ouch! It’s almost like PTSD to hear that noise. My husband has been to every biopsy I’ve had since then, and so far, there were two more. I hope I never have another one, but if I do, I want him with me. He whispered in my ear every time he saw the needle going toward my breast or armpit, so I wouldn’t jump. He has also been to every chemo treatment I’ve had so far, even though it means that he must take off work. I was diagnosed January 19, 2015. When I got the diagnosis, I had to sit down. I kept crying. I home school my children, and my doctor was kind enough to have them in another room while I got my thoughts collected and my emotions composed enough not to shock them too much. What do you tell your children in a way they can understand age-appropriately? They could see it in my face that I had been crying. We can’t protect them from the world too much or they aren’t prepared to face the sadness and ugliness. When I told them about my diagnosis, I learned that it is a good thing for them to see mom or dad not have all the answers. We want them to think that we can take care of all their problems and make all their boo-boos go away. I had to point them to the idea that there is something, someone, greater out there than Mommy or Daddy. Faced with a potentially fatal disease, you know more solidly that the most important thing to leave behind with your children is how to cope with life’s challenges because you know more than ever before that you won’t always be there to make their boo-boos go away. It’s not just education that helps children succeed as adults. They need to see a role model in their parents that shows them how to deal with things like cancer, that can’t be explained away just scientifically. Some children aren’t fortunate enough to have two parents. Some children start out with only one parent. Some grow up with two parents and lose one to something like cancer. I don’t think I am going to die from this disease, but I do know that one day I am going to die from something. It could be complications from treatment, that don’t manifest until decades down the road. I can’t speculate on how soon or many years down the road I will depart this world. I choose instead to focus on how to teach them to handle things that can’t be explained away. You must give them over to God in every sense of the word. I can’t tell you how relieved I get when I pray and leave all my burdens at the foot of His cross and His throne. We must learn to depend on others, even when we are so used to trying to do everything for everyone else and be their answer. We have to learn to be God’s vines and branches. Sometimes that DOES mean helping someone else out. I do that by being here, supporting other women who have been diagnosed with this disease. I do it by trying to more consciously make choices and take actions that reflect love. Sometimes I do it by allowing others to love on me. When I was diagnosed with my cancer, at first, I started turning inward. Why was I given this disease? I wasn’t so scared of the diagnosis for myself. I know where I am going after I leave this world. I worry for the loved ones I will one day leave behind. I spent a good night or two praying to God. He gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding. He told me he had chosen me to be his warrior. We don’t know how long any of us have on this earth, even before we’ve been given something like a cancer diagnosis. I started hearing God tell me to help others, rather than fold within myself and withdraw from others. I have learned what he means about an inheritance. He isn’t talking about money. He is talking about what we do with our lives. Some are given little. Some are given much. I have to take this cancer diagnosis, which to many seems like a deficit, and invest it into the lives of others. When I take my mind off myself and spend my energy helping others I actually feel a little selfish, because I am no longer looking at the haunting and depressing life of cancer that some could make this out to be. I used to be such a private person, and this diagnosis has made me open toward others. I never really was one to look for help, always preferring to help myself and my family on my own. The needs from this cancer have taught me that it’s okay to let others help me and my family. Sometimes it helps others to help me. They need an outlet, just like I do when I need to get my mind off my diagnosis. I am a happily married woman and mother in her 40’s. I have been pretty much a happy person, all-around, my whole life. I used to be embarrassed by my laugh when I was younger. After losing my grandma over a decade ago, though, I treasure my laugh because it is something I remember about her. I must have inherited my laugh and smile from her, because she always seemed to brighten my day with that same laugh and smile. Sometimes, though, just because someone laughs and smiles all the time does not mean their life is perfect. Just because we are happy and smile most of the time, does not mean we do everything the way we should. I could be happier. I could LIVE my life more fully and passionately. That is my ultimate goal since my diagnosis. This cancer has taught me that I wasn’t living PASSIONATELY before. My husband got his first job out of college working in Alaska, but we still lived in Houston. I quit my job, partly because I wanted to stay home with Avalyn, but also because we had the remote possibility of moving to Ketchikan. I went up to spend a long-awaited honeymoon with him while my dad and step-mother watched our toddler. I left the diaphragm behind on accident, and we again decided to leave fate in God’s hands rather than in my diaphragm. Twenty-one months after Avalyn was born we had Carrie. Carrie has always been an easy child to rear (though she does have her moments). She was also the easiest to give birth to, giving us no false alarms, and arriving only 6 hours after I came into the hospital. My water broke naturally. After she was born, life wasn’t so easy. She was a good baby, but circumstances weren’t so good. We decided not to move to Ketchikan. If you research the cost of living up there, for the money you spend, and compare it to the cost of living in 2006 for Houston, you might understand why. We bought a house, but I wished we knew to be more curious about the house we bought when we were house hunting. It’s okay to lift vases in bathrooms and discover cracks underneath. Don’t be shy. It’s also okay to look inside kitchen cabinets to see if you might find rotting wood near the dishwasher. I would rock Carrie to sleep in the recliner just on the other side of the wall separating us from the dish washer. I developed bronchitis when she was about 2 months old. This goes to show that God ALWAYS uses perfect timing. My husband was about to be home from work anyway. I had gone in to figure out why I couldn’t quit coughing and found out I developed bronchitis. He was home by the time I started taking most of the medication. I had developed so much exhaustion – – between raising a baby and a toddler and not feeling well. I picked up a bottle of Hydrocodone instead of the bottle of bronchitis medicine. They both are horse-sized pills, so I thought nothing of it when I took the pill. When the coughing didn’t stop, I used my inhaler. We went to bed that night, and I developed a headache on top of the cough. My husband suggested I take an aspirin. I started hearing strange noises that my husband wasn’t hearing. I started hallucinating from the interaction of the wrong drugs mixed together. He felt helpless and admitted me to the hospital. At that time in Houston, Andrea Yates was all over the news. Psychiatrists were very careful about who they let return home from episodes like I had experienced. They tried diagnosing me with Schizophrenia. I am sure I had a psychotic episode, but it was drug induced. My husband had to hire a lawyer to get me out of Ben Taub. I was finally home after two weeks. While I was in the Psych ward I wasn’t allowed to pump and dump. In the meantime, my Carrie developed nipple confusion. I only got to nurse her for about 2 months. When I got home from Ben Taub she insisted on the bottle. We had three girls. When I met our oldest, she was 9. She was a delightful little girl, almost the age of my students. I did not have any children of my own. I also wondered if I ever would be able to have children. I doted on her and lavished her with books and toys. We took to each other so easily. She even started calling me mommy, even though she has a mom. I think that made her mother angry. When we saw her again we started seeing her be demanding of things instead of being appreciative and excited. We found out Mommy was telling her to go to Daddy if she needed anything requiring money. We were a single-income family before John graduated from college. Having a 9-year-old AND a baby wasn’t easy. Samantha was used to be an only child, never having to share. She was even an only grand-child on BOTH sides. When I met her, and thought of having children, I never thought she would be jealous of their toys. There is about a decade difference between Samantha and Avalyn. Yet I started seeing her tell our toddler that one half of the sand box was hers and the other was Avalyn’s. Since Samantha has graduated from high school, she has had a chance to work out in the real world and discover how much things cost. She has grown into a beautiful young woman both inside and out, and I’ve been blessed to see her generosity toward others. We had three girls, and John still wanted to try for a boy. This is where I know that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. We got pregnant a third time. I would look down at my growing belly and greet it with a “Hello, Little Buddy.” I had to have ultrasounds because of my age. There was a slight risk that this baby could have Down’s Syndrome. When I was about 6 months along, we went to the first sonogram where you can see the sex of the baby. I saw a rectangle with a circle at the bottom and started laughing. I’d never seen that before on my two girls. I said, “He’s a boy!” The doctor wondered how I knew. I had to tell him, first, that I kept greeting this little guy with “Hello, Buddy”. I also told him that this image was something I’d never seen on a baby sonogram before. Something the doctor saw on the sonogram was a calcification on his heart. It is something that shows up in a lot of babies with Down’s, but it can show up on perfectly healthy babies as well. We were offered an amino, but we declined. Why bother getting an amino if you’re doing to keep your baby anyway? We were waiting so long to have this little boy, we didn’t care if he wasn’t perfect in the eyes of the world. Jacob was born in 2009. He gave me a lot of false alarms. When he finally came into this world, however, he came quickly. The epidural did not have a chance to kick in. I was making noises I never heard myself make. I guess it was kind of pay-back for me laughing only 20 minutes earlier when I heard another lady down the hall making the same noises. With my girls, the epidurals kicked in well before the baby was born so I didn’t know what it felt like to have a watermelon come out of something that normally was the size of a lemon. OUCH! He is a perfectly healthy little boy. He has no Down’s Syndrome. What he does have I didn’t notice until he was about 2 or 3 months old. He has a big brown mark on his nose, not too far from his eye. It’s a cafe’ au lait birth mark – – probably from coming out of the birth canal as if off a water slide rather than easing out. We get ignorant questions about it from time to time. Some people laugh and think he’s just a typical boy with dirt on his nose. Some think he hurt himself. I wonder if they’re ready to call CPS on me because they think he’s being abused. I just shake my head. I’ve got doctor’s notes from the dermatologist. Sometimes he’s bothered by it, but we haven’t removed it. There are some who call it “God’s thumbprint of approval”. I remind him of that from time to time. If he gets older and decides he wants to have it removed, we’ll investigate it. Jacob was so easy to nurse. We nursed until he was about 2 1/2. I don’t know if it was harder to wean me off, or him. He learned to say “sheepies” when he wanted nursed and didn’t understand why sheepies were being weaned. I missed being able to keep weight off. I had clogged milk ducts with all 3 of my children, but they always seemed to go away with pumping or nursing. I knew something was wrong when I found that clogged milk duct feeling this past year. Jacob turned 6 shortly after my IDC diagnosis. I could rack my brains wondering if I developed cancer because I never got that clogged milk duct feeling out of my right breast once and for all, but it might not be having anything to do with a clogged duct. It could be from having taken birth control pills in college. It could have been from living in an overly Iron-rich environment (I grew up in a red clay Virginia). It could be eating so much crappy food with GMOS in it or working night shifts before I got my teaching job. I can’t go there. What I need to do is look at how to turn this around and bless others. I start by trying to be closer to my family. Before my diagnosis, my husband and I began to drift apart. We were still happily married, but we got into our routines. That happens with almost every couple. It especially happens to couples when one of them has to work away from home quite a bit. This cancer diagnosis has taken me away from my routine. My husband has also been blessed to have an office job. God’s timing was perfect again, as he has had this job about a year or two before I got my diagnosis. At first, I took his return to being at home for granted. Any time we needed more money for home repairs I started turning to my computer work. I work online selling curriculum that I’ve made. When my step daughter would come down to visit and wanted to go somewhere that we’d end up spending hundreds of dollars to include the whole family, I started plugging way to make more income. I would stay up way into the night (sometimes even into the early hours of the morning) to try to get something churned out, and then spend hours trying to market it so it got noticed. Cancer has taught me to SLOW DOWN. Smell the flowers. Laugh at and treasure the funny and cute things your children say. Listen to the stories your parents tell you about when you were little, or about when THEY were little, or about your grandparents. Beyond my own family, when I am out and about at places like the grocery store, a doctor’s appointment, a class my kids are taking – – I take time to try to talk to the cashier, people in the waiting room, other parents. I connect. This life isn’t always about making money or impressing others or putting out fires all the time. It’s about connecting. If you are here on MyBCTeam for the very first time, welcome to a place where you can both reach out and where you can reach toward others. If you have been on here for a while, thank you for all the support you have been giving me and others and for the wealth of knowledge. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Stage one IDC right breast .9mm non-palpable with no symptoms annual mammograms saved my life and my breast. (Jennifer, 45 years old)
  • DCIS single side mastectomy w DIEP reconstruction (Cindy, 46 years old)
  • My breast cancer was spotted on my annual mammogram, I was encouraged to go for second mammogram, where I immediately had a biopsy performed.  A couple days later I was told I had breast cancer. I immediately met with oncologist and breast surgeon. It was an easy decision to have a double Mastectomy. I didn’t want to possible have multiple breast procedures to remove cancer. I figured take everything out correctly to save the appearance of my breast. I went into surgery knowing my nipple might not be savable. Surgery went well, expanders were inserts in, I had reconstructive surgery 3 months later. Started tamoxifen 1 month after surgery. (Sheryl, 46 years old)
  • A very scary time of my life.  For me, the effects of having had it have challenged me mentally.  I have to stop myself from constantly worrying that it will come back, that every little ache or pain means more than it actually is.  I would say I was definitely more carefree prior to having it. (Anica, 47 years old)
  • Had a pea size lump on my right Breast. During surgery to remove that lump and 16 lymph nodes they found 3 more lumps, so then had to have another op to remove those. Had 6 lots of Chemo over 4 mths and found the steroids that they give you for the nausea puts my blood sugar through the roof (being Diabetic) so I spent a lot of time being seriously sick. I went back to work during my Chemo as I found working kept my mind off what I was going through. Have been on Tamoxifen for 4 yrs. now and have been having a very hard time dealing with its side effects. (Julie, 47 years old)
  • I’m 47 and felt a huge lump in my breast. Before I knew it, I had the biopsy, mastectomy, and now I’m headed for chemo. It’s been very hard to accept, still feels like a bad dream, and I cry often about leaving my loved ones behind. (Kelly, 47 years old)
  • I was diagnosed with invasive ductile carcinoma on 24 June 2016. The tumor was in my right breast only, but I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy. Cancer cells were found in only the first two lymph nodes, but a CT scan revealed, and biopsies confirmed that the cancer had spread to my bones already. I have four tumors; sternum, T9 vertebrae, left femur, and left acetabulum. I am ER and PR positive and HER2- so I was able to go straight to Arimidex rather than chemo. Radiation was not possible because of the number and the location of the tumors. I am responding to the treatment and the tumors seem to be dying. (Ann, 48 years old)
  • Maybe (Christine, 48 years old)
  • My maternal grandmother had breast cancer & my maternal aunt died from Ovarian Cancer at age 37 so I have always been pretty diligent getting yearly mammograms & OBGYN appointments. my 1st mammogram at age 40 I was called back for ultrasound on left side & told dense tissue. I was called back every year for the next 4 years – ultra sound on left side & always told dense tissue. At age 45 I had a 3D mammogram & the results came back that all was “normal”. For the 1st time I was not called back for an ultrasound. Six months later I felt a lump in my left breast on side close to armpit. I immediately thought it was a cyst since I had a “normal” 3D mammogram cancer did not even enter my mind. I put it off for a few weeks as I was a very busy mom working full time. I kept feeling the lump, so I finally called OBGYN who sent me for Mammogram & Ultrasound. During the Ultrasound the radiologist came in room & took over the Scan. She said I had very dense breast tissue. She thought best to do biopsy. Biopsy came back positive. I went to the biopsy follow up appt by myself really never thinking it would be positive. The Dr who came in the room I had never met said “Unfortunately the biopsy came back positive”. Of course, I heard nothing after the word Unfortunately. I do remember saying ” I can’t have cancer I am a Mom”. and this Dr went on to say, “At least breast cancer is no longer a death sentence”. as soon as she used the word death I lost it. Fast forward. I met my Oncology team who initially thought all signs pointed to Stage 1 IDC. I decided to have a double mastectomy- I did not want the anxiety of continued mammograms if I had a lumpectomy especially since the 3D mammogram missed my cancer. The pathology came back & tumor was larger than expected at 3.4cm with at least 2 lymph nodes positive – only took 1st two & both had cancer; all margins clear. Cancer was officially diagnosed Stage 2b ER/PR+ HER2-. After recovering from surgery began chemo – 4 biweekly rounds of Adriamycin & Cytoxan. white blood count dropped to 0 & ended up admitted to hospital twice for a week stay each time due to neutropenia with fever. Got through the 4 rounds of AC & moved onto 12 weekly rounds of Taxol which caused horrible neuropathy I am still dealing with 2 years later. Four weeks after finishing chemo started 34 radiation treatments. While radiation is easier than chemo especially on the stomach I developed horrible burns to the clavicle area and at times severe fatigue. I started Tamoxifen 2 weeks after finishing radiation and 3 months later I had surgery to remove my ovaries and breast reconstruction. Today I am about 17 months post the end of treatment. I was switched from Tamoxifen to Arimidex once post menopause was confirmed. I am blessed to now say “I had cancer” vs. “I have cancer”. I deal with everyday side effects either from chemo or Arimidex, but I am thankful to be here with my family. I pray one day there will be a cure for all cancer. (Mary, 48 years old)
  • Happily (Kristen, 49 years old)
  • 18 months prior to diagnosis a radiologist Dr. told me to have the lump removed. The biopsy came back as PASH, but he said get it removed anyway. My family doctor disagreed. A year later the radiologist said I really needed to get it out right away and made me promise. He sent a letter to my GP saying it was necessary. Still we didn’t know it was cancer. 6 months later it is out, and it turns out it was cancer. The radiologist had a hunch but couldn’t by law say it was cancer. I feel like he saved my life and my family doctor put it at risk by not following his recommendation. (Tracey, 49 years old)
  • Kaz’s Journey Continues on Facebook (Karen, 50 years old)
  • I had no idea I had breast cancer.  It was only detected by a mammogram.  Thank God my husband insisted I go have it.  I am here only because of that mammogram. (Maria, 50 years old)
  • Diagnosed at 49 had Lumpectomy and radiation (Vickie, 50 years old)
  • I was diagnosed in mid-July last yr. Found a big bump almost by armpit. Went in after 2 weeks. Had an ultrasound to check. *had 29 chemo treatments, then I had a lumpectomy in January with reduction on my left breast. Biopsy came back no cancer present.  After 3 mths of healing, then came the radiation. 29 of those as well. Been done with treatment since June. I should be so happy, but I am scared. So afraid it is going to come back somewhere else. Crossing fingers nervously. (Wendi, 50 years old)
  • Yes (Nada, 51 years old)
  • I was diagnosed in 2010, died during my third chemo treatment, and incredible family difficulties. My, then 14-year-old, had gone into emotional crisis and suffered dearly. We were involved with family court, juvenile system, foster care, and rehab. I lost the support of many. To this day, my daughter and I estranged. (Caren, 52 years old)
  • For his 15th birthday in September, my son wanted me to go to all the doctors I should have been seeing and get all the tests I needed done. I had canceled my mammogram that summer since there’s no family history of it. He bugged me until I finally made an appointment for December 8, 2015. You’re a call back saying they needed to do a biopsy. Stage zero, DCIS was the diagnosis. I’ll be forever grateful to my son. Who knows when I would’ve done that test if it weren’t for him. He saved my life. (Debbie, 52 years old)
  • I was scared really scared at first. Then I remember God is walking with me through this battle hand in hand. (Teresa, 52 years old)
  • Diagnosed with Stage 1 IDC on April 3rd. Left mastectomy April 27th. Started chemo on June 14th (Cindy, 53 years old)
  • I keep my story to myself only open up when I need to but 4 years on I’m doing ok just wish we didn’t have to take drugs that cause of their issues, it just doesn’t seem to go away (Julie, 53 years old)
  • I went for my annual mammogram which showed microcalcifications. Had a second mammogram, then biopsies. Had an MRI. I had lumpectomy shortly after. I did 16 radiation treatments and currently take Tamoxifen. (Deb, 54 years old)
  • No (Jennifer, 54 years old)
  • Since 2000 I’d have to have a mammogram followed by ultrasound (dense fibrocystic breast). In 2011, it was different, while the mammogram didn’t show anything, the ultrasound did.  The Breast Specialist didn’t like the way it looked, there was a very, very small area that had a lot of blood flow, so she decided to do a core biopsy.  On the day I was going to get the biopsy the imaging center called to inform me my mammogram was all clear and they would see me in a year.  Needless to say, she was very shocked when I told her I was on my few to get a core biopsy.  Well the results can back a few days later and it was confirmed, breast cancer.  The size when the breast specialist first discovered it was 0.5mm, 3 weeks later I had a PET scan, and 3D MRI, the size went to 1.7 cm, so, then on to the appointments with the Medical Oncologist and Reconstruction Surgeon. After meeting with all the new set of doctors, everyone decided I should go on the cruise I had booked prior to finding out I had BC.  Everyone was saying “go get it off your mind off it for a while” (yeah right). 2 days after returning from the cruise I had a nipple and skin sparing bilateral mastectomy with immediate DIEP/Apex Flap reconstruction.  I received the pathology report; the size went to 2.1 cm with a trace in the sentinel node. Six weeks after the first surgery I had 4 rounds of chemo (Cytoxan and Taxotere), then six weeks after last chemo treatment I had my Stage 2 surgery and started on Tamoxifen (which has its own wonderful set of side effects too) on March 2012. In 2014 I had to have a total hysterectomy because of the Tamoxifen, I was experiencing thickening of the uterus and they found a mass that they could not get clear margins on.  Thankfully no new cancer.  Currently I’ve been on Tamoxifen for 5.7 years, I have another 4.5 years to go. (Sherry, 54 years old)
  • Stress factors resulting in weight gain, came from selling our home, moving, new jobs, new city.  In 2013, 3 months after my dad passed away, we found out we’d be moving- then 6 months after the move, came my diagnosis from a regular routine yearly Mammogram. I was stage 0, ER+ fast growing cancer. After the initial biopsy, had a partial mastectomy with lymph nodes removal. Something new in Athens, Ga. (new location) they had the attending nurse from biopsy to walk the treatment path with you, she was even the one called with my results.  Jan. 2, 2014- surgery & that following week, I did my recovery in Orlando, Fl; so, my husband could run the Disney Marathons, Feb- I started my 16 Acceleration Rad.  sessions. And the FB cancer group suggested I use Fresh Aloe Vera on my skin, before, during & after Rad treatments> awesome & did not even get pink. About 3 weeks later I started on Tamoxifen- was concerned @ joint pain & weight gain- I basically started eating like a vegan & lost 30 lbs. my weight & exercise is a constant battle. Joint pain is controlled by the anti-inflammation foods I eat. Rather than taking Diclofenac & Baclofen prescribed by fam. Dr. also have started a short term of Osteo Bi Flex triple strength- to kick start my new exercise plan & help reduce pain. Weight loss being my goal again. Keep striving for the best health you can do for yourself, be active outside the home & encourage others. And although I suffer from migraines 24/7, Have still been able with Gods help, to Have an ear ring pattern published in Beadwork Magazine 2016- (Aug/Sept). And have opportunities to teach a variety of beading patterns in Watkinsville, GA. My hobby has helped me reach out & help others… btw the migraine is still with me but am hoping that by switching to a different Tamoxifen Manufacturer, that the migraine will eventually fade away. I simply talked to my Pharmacist & she put the order in. I would have never had thought that the 4 diff. Manufacturers add synthetic fillers to our cancer drugs. My hope for others who have breast cancer, don’t settle for whatever your Dr. Tells you, but to always ask & understand, all the why’s. life is too short, live every day like your dying. (Becky E., 55 years old)
  • Just moved, new town, new Dr, first visit and its breast cancer. (Brenda, 55 years old)
  • I think I’ve answered this above. (Joanne, 55 years old)
  • Was diagnosed in Feb 2017 through annual mammogram. Caught early in right breast and lumpectomy was recommended. After MRI they discovered pre-cancer areas in same breast. No longer candidate for lumpectomy. I chose to have double mastectomy without immediate construction. Did not need chemo or radiation. Taking anastrozole for five years. Physical recovery was bearable. Emotional recovery was tough. I went for counseling and started getting acupuncture. I am feeling good and scheduled to begin reconstruction this Wednesday. (Judi, 57 years old)
  • I finished all treatments on August 3,2017. Diagnosed Dec 2016 (Julie, 57 years old)
  • To painful (Laura, 57 years old)
  • Diagnosed at 57; lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy; didn’t get clean margins so 2nd surgery a month later.  Chemo for 4 months then 35 sessions of radiation. If there was a side effect, reaction or complication, it found me, several of which my oncologist (35 yrs. in practice) had never seen. I think once I was over the worst of it a kind of PTSD set in.  It was one hell of a year, but here I am, having learned lessons about love, friendship, empathy, compassion and strength.  I did it and I feel proud of that. (Karen, 58 years old)
  • Was dx just before turning 54. Mammogram caught it!! No family history. Stage 1, nodes neg. Lumpectomy, mrsa infected lumpectomy site that required cleaning and packing twice a day for about 6 weeks. Chemo x 4, then bilateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction. Been NED for almost 5 years. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Had a small BB size bump on my left nipple.  Had a mammogram and ultrasound in May 2016.  Bump became hard so had another mammogram and ultrasound in April 2017.  No cancer was found and was written in report that it was a skin thickening issue and if it changed or worsened to seek out dermatological care.  I decided to go to my dermatologist who performed a biopsy and he diagnosed my breast cancer on May 31, 2017.  Immediately went to surgeon on the same day.  Had another ultrasound that found the cancer had spread just outside the nipple area.  Did a biopsy of area and it was positive for cancer.  Had left breast removed June 14, 2017.  One node in the breast was mildly affected with cancer.  Having 4 doses of chemo 3 weeks a part.  Doctor wants to do 5 weeks 5 days a week of radiation afterwards.  Little scared of the radiation.  Very thankful for my doctors and especially my 77-year-old dermatologist, Dr. Pierre Jaffee, who did not take the word of the mammogram and ultrasound and did his own biopsy.  I know he is not God, but I think Dr. Jaffee walks on water because he saved my life.  God has been with me throughout this whole experience and I cannot imagine not having Him in my life. (Susan, 59 years old)
  • Yes (Tamara, 59 years old)
  • No family history and no risks. Found it myself, had the chemo and then double mastectomy with reconstruction. I find I laugh more, am happy and don’t stress about the future or little things anymore. (Peggy, 60 years old)
  • Possibly (Gill, 61 years old)
  • I had a routine mammogram in January 2017. They found a suspicious mass. Scheduled a biopsy and found cancer, Stage 1. After biopsy had lumpectomy and 12 lymph nodes removed. 4 of the 12 were positive. Two weeks later another surgery for clear margins. Scheduled for chemo, A/C plus Taxol. Before I could start had a PET scan. Found a spot in my hip. Boom!  Stage 4 Breast Cancer with Mets. Radiation instead of chemo. Monthly infusions of Zometa (24 total) plus daily pills of Femara (5 years).  Probably some sort of treatment the rest of my life. (Marylou K., 61 years old)
  • I have a strong family history on cancer on both sides of my family. Both my parents had cancer, mom breast and dad lymphoma. My mom’s sister had breast cancer that ended up in her bones. Mama had 2 nieces with breast cancer and a great niece. My gyn first suggest genetic testing to me in 2013, I said no. In 2014 when I saw her she suggested it again and again I said no. In 2015 when I saw her she basically wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, I did the full panel testing with Myriad at same time I had a normal mammogram. Two weeks later my Dr called to tell me I was positive for CHEK2.  I think I was her first patient DX with this gene. She had to do some research on it herself. I was referred to an oncology surgeon that I saw 3 weeks later.  When I saw him, he gave me options which included annual MRI, mammogram and start Tamoxifen OR have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and reduce my risk from 50% to 5%. I decided on the surgery which was planned 6 months later, but he wanted a pre-surgery MRI. So about 6 weeks later I went for the MRI, one week later I had an invasive ductal Carcinoma DX. My cancer was stage 1C and I barely avoided chemo, I did end up on Tamoxifen after all. I feel blessed, genetic testing may have saved my life!  I am 61 now, my cancer was DX at age 60. (Susan, 61 years old)
  • My mom had breast cancer 7 yrs. before I was diagnosed. I believe my journey was harder on her than hers was. I was told on my birthday August 8, 2004. Had a biopsy right away and saw my surgeon the next week. She said she only needed to do a lumpectomy but wanted me to have chemo and radiation. I was off work for 5 months and so so sick. I just had my 13th anniversary of being diagnosed. It’s actually pretty scary because at 13’years my mom’s breast cancer metastasized (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Totally out of the blue. Nobody in my family had it before or since me. (Ann, 63 years old)
  • Ductal and lobular cancer, started in 2009 came back in my lungs in 2011 and again in 2014 and am and will be on chemo (Kadcyla) every 3 wks. until that stops working then try something else. (Barbara, 63 years old)
  • No breast cancer in my large family so I skipped a few years of mammograms.   Finally went and had breast cancer.  Estrogen driven.  So, I took a friend’s advice when she said you get one chance to be aggressive.  I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction same time.  No chem no rads just pills.  My heart goes out to the many women that had it worse than me. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Out of the blue, no symptoms but very vigilant Radiologist read mammogram and insisted on more testing. Just a shadow on the screen. Two weeks later, in surgery. I felt like I had been in a tornado – too many doctors, decisions and words to learn. Radiation 4 weeks later. Now Letrozole for five years. Just tired and don’t want to be the “lady with cancer” any more. (Mary, 63 years old)
  • Found the lump after having a clear mammogram 3 months earlier (Patty T., 64 years old)
  • I think most of my story is in the above:  in 2010 I found a lump on my chest so I went for a mammogram specifically for the lump on my chest and I was told that it was just thickening of a muscle…… two months later I was still concerned about the lump so was referred to a doctor to do a biopsy.  The next day I got the bad news and was scheduled for surgery a few days later…… I woke up from the anesthetic and no boobs…… then came the Chemotherapy. My hair was almost down to my waist and I lost it all. From long hair I went totally bald…… I couldn’t at myself in a mirror. Now seven years, one month I’m still here to tell my story…. God bless and best wishes to all cancer patients.  amberjoy@live.co.za (amber-joy j., 69 years old)
  • Routine annual mammogram, no lump (Anonymous, 69 years old)