Younger breast cancer network : Online support for breast cancer
The Younger Breast Cancer Network is my lifeline, without this amazing group and Shine Cancer Support I would not have been able to cope with breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, side effects and living with terminal cancer.
What is the Younger Breast Cancer Network
Also referred to as YBCN, is a Facebook group that was set up by Victoria Yates after she got a breast cancer diagnosis and realised there was little support for young women with breast cancer.
I have to admit before my breast cancer diagnosis I thought old ladies got breast cancer. I think it is because they test people over 50 with mammograms. I did know another girl who got breast cancer years ago when she was only 21, she went through chemotherapy and has luckily been clear since but it just seemed so uncommon.
When I got my cancer diagnosis I thought I must be one of the youngest but I dont know if it’s due to scanning procedures and breast cancer is being picked up at a younger age or is it just becoming more common for younger women to get breast cancer.
Now I know so many women who have experienced breast cancer, not only in this group but nearly everyone I talk to knows someone who had had or has got breast cancer.
Anyway back to YBCN, so Victoria found a lack of support, set up a Facebook page in 2012 which started off as a Manchester support group and have since grown all over the UK and now has over 3.4k members.
How does YBCN support young women with breast cancer
The group is to support women 45 and under with a breast cancer diagnosis. It is a safe place to rant and rave about things making you sad angry or worried. I feel it’s a group that you can ask questions that you might feel uncomfortable speaking to friends and family about as a they dont know what you are going through and you dont want to upset them.
The network has sub-divisions. The main group is for people with primary diagnosis.
You can ask a question in the group any time of the day and there is bound to be someone online who might not know the answer but can offer works of support.
I remember when I was having primary chemotherapy, I would be in the group in the early hours with my insomnia chatting to whoever was still awake. I made friends with one girl who like me got the munchies about 5am and we would lie awake talking about food.
I no longer read much from this group as I am now secondary breast cancer and belong to the living with a secondary diagnosis subgroup. It was decided to have it as a subgroup to not terrify people who are recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
It is an extremely hard group to belong to as unfortunately secondary breast cancer is a killer and young ladies do die in the group. But I could not be without the support group.
These ladies know how I am feeling as we are all living with the disease and we support each other it’s absolutely amazing.
It isn’t just about the private Facebook page there is a twitter account if you look at the hashtag #YBCN.
There has also been media interest in the group when I first got diagnosed there was an eyebrow campaign which started off as a bit of fun of what you could use to make the best eyebrows as obviously chemotherapy for breast cancer causes hair loss.
It was around Christmas so were using tinsel and things to make some jazzy eyebrows it was fun and made us laugh. It got picked up by the media and it was just a feel-good factor for members of the group.
There are other support groups for breast cancer patients but this one is the best as its young women. I am not saying someone older can’t offer advise but they might have different priorities as young women are still concerned about fertility, work that sort of thing which would be different for someone in their 70s who is retired it’s just a generation thing.
The group is ran entirely by volunteers of women who have breast cancer which makes it even more special as these volunteers are amazing and without them the group would not be able to exist.
Subgroups of Younger Breast Cancer Network
End of life
Living with secondary diagnosis
10 regional groups where you can talk to people closer to home so you can discuss things going on in your local area and arrange meet ups.
Moving on : I went into this group for a short time after primary treatment. It is for when treatment is over but other anxieties and issues can be discussed. I was still part of the main group but after treatment you may feel like you cannot keep talking about chemotherapy and anxieties of first getting diagnosed. However, I didn’t get to be part of this subgroup for long as I got my secondary diagnosis after 4 years.
Research chat : Some people dont want to discuss research new treatment statistics so this subgroup keeps it separate.
Other support for young women with breast cancer diagnosis
Breast cancer now also have a younger women’s support annual meet up you can attend once to get support and advice.
If you are a young woman with a breast cancer diagnosis then also look at Shine cancer support which is another amazing online support network and they are a charity that offers regional meet up and nationwide workshops to support people under 50 with any cancer diagnosis and stage.
Also so many more amazing groups for all ages all cancers such as Macmillan.
If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and under 45 in the UK, then check out this amazing support group.
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