The Washington Post had a feature article today on young woman dealing with breast cancer. The author is a reporter for the Post, who was diagnosed with the cancer at age 32. A long and interesting feature. My close family friend and part time assistant Amy died five years ago of breast cancer at the age of 35. Catastrophic for those of us who knew Amy.
Only 3 percent of breast cancer patients are under the age of 40. Of course, that number certainly feels larger if you happen to find yourself as one of those 250,000 women in the United States living with breast cancer.
Treatment can be as disturbing and isolating as the diagnosis since the cancer ward is often filled with much older women, including grandmothers who talk about how relieved they are that at least they got a chance to see their grandchildren born. Young patients desperately crave help with fertility issues, dating, stalled careers and where to, say, buy the best eyelashes.
"One second you're a young, healthy, energetic, sexy woman ready for late nights out with friends, marriage, and maybe children," said Amy Ebeid, an Alexandria resident who received her diagnosis at 28, 10 weeks after her wedding. "The next second, you're bald, boobless, and having hot flashes that could set a small country on fire. Your biggest achievement of the day is that you were able to stay awake until 10 p.m."