Is anyone else dreading – October – “Breast Cancer Awareness

Media Hi Ladies

Like Claire, I was also diagnosed reasonably young (35) and felt really isolated as everything seemed to be geared towards older ladies. All the ladies on the chemo ward, in the support groups, exercise classes etc were all a good 10 years older than me with totally different concerns (I have two young children) and for this reason I also decided to become a media volunteer for breast cancer charities. I figured that if I could make even one person feel less alone when dealing with this horrible disease then it would be a job well done. As a result of this I have an article coming out during October (on behalf of Breakthrough) which tells my ‘story’. The main point of which (if they print it the way I told it) is that even though I was diagnosed a while ago (Jan '05) and have been told that I am now okay (or ‘all clear’ as other people keep telling me - ggggrrrrrr) I still live with the fear of it coming back every single day. But also that just because you are young it doesn’t mean that you can’t get cancer and you really need to be breast aware. I am another one that really hates (with a passion) all this pink stuff however I also think anything that raises awareness has got to be a good thing. My article will be printed in ‘thats life’ magazine at the beginning of october so if you don’t want to read it, don’t buy the magazine that week and if you do read it, I hope it comes across the way it was intended.

Karen

Insensitive to others!!I Secondary breast cancer and sad stories are part of life!!! Don’t read them if you don’t like them!! Get over it!! Funnyface

Hi lindap

I suppose the thing that annoys me the most about oct is that shops make millions in profits by advertising BC awarness.

I was never ‘aware’ ( of all the publicity) before I had BC (although checked my breast every night in the bath!- but that didn’t seem to help me) but found that once I got BC everyone else had it too, a bit like when your pregnant.

I’m sorry to hear you feel so depressed reading articles about people ‘battling on’ or worse still have ‘lost their fight’, I was never lucky enough to even get close to feeling like ‘I’d won my fight’ as I was DX almost on the spot with stage IV so I guess I’m ‘battling on’ with it and can say for myself in the situation that I am in october may as well be every month of the year as I have a constant reminder, but it doesn’t stop me from living life to the full,like you I am a young mum that cherishes every moment (especially the ones where for a short moment i forget) I have met and lost some lovely people to this horrid disease, which is beyond ANYONES controle. I Hope you remain to ‘win your fight’ and dont end up being one of the ‘battling on cases’
or even worse ‘lost their fight’. I’m sure friends relatives of lost one’s and people with secondaries that have raed your post will find it quite offensive… putting the whole BC awarness month to one side.

Good luck

Amber

Diagnosed last October I was diagnosed last October so next month will be very difficult for me. I remember seeing so many bc awareness posters on shop windows and pink ribbons on people’s coats. I had never really noticed them before.
But, as difficult as it is for us all, I do believe that it’s extremely important to make everyone aware of bc. As a young person, I was very unaware - found a lump but didn’t think it was significant (nor did my GP) and I was not diagnosed for almost another year. Personally, I want younger women to be more aware and I’ll do everything I can to get involved. I do find it upsetting reading articles in magazines but I’m glad those articles are there and that people are telling their story and I will continue to read them. I have also met so many women who are living wonderful lives with bc. I think it’s important for people to hear that too.
Tasha x

October I was also diagnosed in October…3 years ago…and in the horrible post diagnosis days couldn’t understand why there was so much publicity about beast cancer…I’d never noticed it before. Traumatised as I was I quickly picked up there was something wrong with the messages as they applied to me. I’d been mightily ‘aware’, had regualr mammograms but still got misdiagnosed, still got an aggressive cancer and a poor prognosis which had nothing to do with the rosy statistical glow painted by the media.

Pink October trivialises and it sanitises and it glamorises breast The focus on battle metaphors is insulting.

Campagining messages inevitably become simplified but I think there’s a hidden and misleading message that ‘awareness’=‘early diagnosis’= cure.

Around 10% of those with breast cancer are diagnosed at Stage 4…often with no history of symptoms. ‘Early’ breast cancer can quickly change to secondaries and whichever way you look at the statistics I reckon that between one third and one half of all of us with breast cancer will get a secondary recurrence at some point.

I’m not surprised women with mets are angry about some of the posts on this thread. I think there IS too much focus on primary breast cancer and then a silence about the thousands and thousands of people (mainly women) living their lives with a secondary and therefore eventually terminal diagnosis. Those of us with primaries must help end this silence and not pretend that secondary breast cancer is nothing to do with us. This is self interest at the very least…cause who knows what next week will bring.

Jane

Couldn’t agree more … …with Amber and Jane,
i have a friend dx about same time as me who was dx with liver mets last year…she carries on living her life as best she can and has a very up beat attitude,
i have a aunt who was dx 15 years ago and dx with bone mets last year…she also somehow finds the strength to carry on living a relatively normal life.
i know of a local lady who lost her fight 3 weeks ago aged 40, she has 2 young daughters the youngest about to start school.

these and many more people focus in my life…i do not avoid them,
i as we all should be am very strongly aware of secondaries and the possibilites of being diagnosed with them.
i completely agree that we must help end this silence.

we have been dx with breast cancer…a life threatening disease, hard as it is there is no point in burying our heads in the sand about the facts/ statistics…just as those living with secondaries can’t’ hard as it is…and i know its hard believe you me…we have to face the facts.

if you don’t like the articles in mags and don’t like the tv coverage then don’t read/watch it, but unfortunately these are real life…and not everything has a happy ending…unfortunately.

karen.

ps; what i don’t understand is why the hell one month of the year is dedicated to ‘breast cancer awareness’…it’s something that should be there everyday of every year.
and i too am greatly concerned about the amount of money companies are making by selling ‘pink’ merchandise…making money out of our misery…and media commenting on ‘how wonderful’ such and such company are for promoting awareness in their stores for one month a year.!..we have to live with it everyday of our lives.

I can fully understand the ostrich approach As someone with secondaries I fully understand why those who have finished their primary treatment don’t immediately wish to hear about us. It no longer makes me feel like an angry leper (though it used to) because I come across it too often.

I know the original poster was just giving her honest view with no intention to hurt anyone. To a large extent, if we can’t say how we feel, how do we get support or release the tension? I’m glad for this reason, the thread was allowed to run and not suppressed out of political correctness.

There are times when those with primary cancers and those with secondaries need to be given separate support days to ensure appropriate help with minimum upset to anyone.

Close to a primary diagnosis, you don’t probably need to be hit with full details about secondaries, but sometime, when you feel stronger, do some research for your own protection. I am sure I had secondaries for a year or more before they were diagnosed. I found other explanations for my backache and tireness until the pain eventually became unbearable. I was told a lot about recurrence in the breasts and had follow up mammograms, but no information was given about secondaries.

I do not accept the NHS view that it makes little difference to the outcome when secondaries are picked up (and hence there are no performance guidelines for investigations). The longer you are left without appropriate treatment, the greater the cancer load and chance to rapidly spread to essential organs. Taken the NHS viewpoint to its logical conclusion, if there is no necessity to pick up secondaries quickly, is any of the treatment useful? That is of course a rhetorical question.

If anyone with primary cancer worries about the effect of the all the publicity on their children, consider the effect of the current cheerful drivvel upon my daughter. My daughter doesn’t just fear her mother might die - she knows I will, but reads articles that imply it is easy to recover from breast cancer.

From the fundraising point of view, if they don’t get out more publicity about women dying with secondaries, it will cease to be an easy cause to attract funding. Hey, we just need to watch our diet, don’t smoke, be breast aware and hardly anyone need be dying from breast cancer - many believe it.

The last glossy brochure BCC produced didn’t even mention services for secondaries, so I felt very invisible.

JaneRA is correct that those still fortunate enough to be in remission, need to do more to support those with secondaries, because, unfortunately, for many of you it will be your future.

KEEP IT IN THE NEWS I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM, HOWEVER I DO NOT AGREE. BREAST CANCER MUST BE KEPT A HIGH PROFILE SUBJECT IT HAS MADE PEOPLE SO AWARE OF OUR PLIGHT AND FIGHT AGAINST THIS AWFUL EPIDEMIC AMONST WOMEN, SCIENTISTS ARE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO FIND A CURE AND NEED MONEY TO DO THAT, BECAUSE IT IS CONSTANTLY IN THE NEWS MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC ARE AWARE AND RAISE MILLIONS DOING VARIOUS THINGS TO GET, VITAL MONEY TO HELP ALL OF US WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER. i FIND THAT WHEN BREAST CANCER IS MENTIONED IN A PAPER OR MAG IT IS USUALLY MENTIONED ON THE FRONT PAGE, SO DON’T BUY IT, CHECK THE CONTENTS LIST IN THE MAGAZINE. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT SINCE CELEBS LIKE KYLIE ETC HAVE HAD BREAST CANCER MANY WOMEN WHO NEVER CHECKED THERE BREASTS DO NOW , AND LIVES HAVE BEEN SAVED BECAUSE OF THAT, THATS GOT TO BE GOOD. I FIND WHEN I READ AN ARTICLE IN THE PAPER ETC I THINK TO MYSELF WELL I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS FIGHT I GAIN STRENTH FROM PEOPLE I DO NOT EVEN KNOW. TATTY BYE FOR NOW. KIPPY xxxxxxxx

Perspectives change My first bc was almost 8 years ago and I was given a very good prognosis. To be honest, where I was living in rural mid-Wales, far from Asda and M&S, Pink October scarely impinged and I almost forgot about bc altogether in the years after finishing treatment.

My move to Oxfordshire and my recurrence last year, with a mastectomy at the beginning of October, changed all that and I was intensely aware, as I bought pyjamas for hospital at M&S, of all the pink fluffiness. As I waited for hospital appointments I couldn’t help seeing, and reading, the bc articles in the clinic’s pile of magazines.

Linda, you asked what we think. I can see why you find all the articles upsetting, but I agree with those who say that you can choose not to read them. Bc is a very common and often deadly disease and it is always going to be newsworthy. You can’t expect the media not to deal with it. All you can do, as with any topic you don’t want to think about, is ignore it. Don’t buy the magazines, don’t watch the programmes. But also don’t expect the subject to go away. With 41000 women and 300 men being dignosed every year, sadly it just isn’t going to do so.

I do disagree profoundly with your statement that everyone is more than aware now. If only… In my experience, most women, especially younger women, don’t like to think that bc can happen to them and far too many still don’t examine themselves regularly or even go to their mammogram appointments, whether from fear or from ignorance.

In many ways I was still ignorant after my first diagnosis and certainly didn’t think that my bc could come back. But it did and now awareness and information are crucial to me as a woman living with the knowledge that having come back once, it could do so again. Even worse, my youngest sister will be having her surgery for bc on the anniversary of my own mastectomy. There can never be too much awareness or publicity in the fight against breast cancer.

Kathy

when i was diagnosed with bc earlier this year i didn’t want to read anything about it because i was still in denial. i knew i had cancer, but thought it was somehow a different kind from the kind that kills you…i was terrified, so i listened to all the positive and upbeat stuff they told me in the clinic. but of course this disease seems to be extremely unpredictable and there are no guarantees no matter how good your prognosis is. i’m approaching the conclusion of this “treatment episode” and i do wonder how i’m going to feel when the hospital waves bye-bye and i sail off to get on with my life…
…i agree that the military metaphors of “fighting” and so forth are not helpful, since it makes it sound as though recurrence means you haven’t been trying hard enough. as if anybody would choose to get secondary cancer. but the media love a good tragedy…poor Linda, poor Dusty…

would it be ok if i had an input in this thread I have always supported the awareness months in the past - thinking i was doing my bit!

however, since my first clash with BC i kinda took a back seat. it was as though those who knew me (and those who thought they knew me) where watching to see what i would do. when i went to pick the kids up from school i could feel their eyes on me. As if i was gonna pounce on them and rant the awareness mottos!

Its Macmillan day in my area on Friday and I have been asked to attend a fundraiser/coffee morning. Is that because this someone thinks I need help? Do they think that, becoz iv had BC, I need to start putting my hand in my pocket? Or where they just being friendly and thought I would like to ‘go along’? it’s a hard one. Im still unsure about attending at all.

Even now,swanning around in my various bandanas, (as I am the only one in the school grounds wearing them!) im wary of folk watchin my every move regarding any cancer charity. Will she buy a badge? Has she got the t-shirt? “YES and the flippin scars to prove it! Thank u very much!

I am a new fundraiser for Breakthrough Breast Cancer - no offence BCC - but that was only because I launched a Breast Cancer Support Group in my area and it was to highlight the group and the disease at the same time. But I don’t preach about any of the charities, I feel that’s my own personal choice.

My only objection is to businesses jumpin on the bandwagon and that they still make a profit anyway on any ‘pink’ product they produce and only offer a small % to the charities anyway.

I prefer to be ‘pink’ on days when it’s all forgotten about; I wear my logo tops when the sun is out. I still think that awareness month is a good idea. It highlights the issue to those who are still ignorant about BC; I just wish it wasn’t perceived as a major problem for women only over 50 (there are heaps of us young ones who get it) and that there should be more info for men too.

Sorry if I have rambled on

Loadsa luv adele xxxxxxxxx

hi karen9691 i will look out for that mag - i too was diagnosed at 35 2 yrs ago (b4 my 35 birthday) my kids were young (6 & 3) too.

i told my story to our local press to highlight the younger end of the spectrum and to tell those ladies not to be deterred by thier GPs and Doctors phrase ‘i wouldnt worry, your only young’ gggrrr thats what makes me mad! it was said to me once to often.

i will look out for y our article in the ‘thats life’ in october

loadsa luv adele xxxxxxxxxxx

You Are So Right Ruth Hi Ruth
I just wanted to reply to say that I totally agree with your comments. Surely breast cancer awareness month is a good thing for those women out there yet to discover the silent threat. Far better to be armed with the ammunition to deal with it. As soon as I am well enough I intend to start walking so that I can join fund raising walks for breast cancer. Life is not fair or simple Ruth as you so wisely point out.
LS