News

Conference gathers together young cancer survivors, breast reconstruction recipients

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's not every day that breast cancer survivors get to meet hundreds of other women like themselves. However, that's just what happened on February 24-26, at the annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer (C4YW) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Held at the city's Hyatt Regency Hotel during the final weekend of the month, the C4YW was organized as a way for breast cancer survivors under the age of 45 to meet others have also undergone mastectomy and breast reconstruction at a young age.

The conference included presentations on living with breast cancer, receiving a mastectomy or breast reconstruction, being diagnosed with the disease during pregnancy, dating as a cancer survivor, using online resources to connect with others and much more.

Attendee Ann Wellen explained to the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the C4YW helps younger breast cancer patients and survivors find hope, optimism and acceptance among women with similar experiences.

Though she was 50 years old at the time of her diagnosis, Wellen told the news source that it's still a relatively young age at which to find out you have breast cancer.

"It was really a shock because I had none of the risk factors," she told the newspaper. "The only time I’d been in the hospital was to have my kids."

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 65 percent of breast cancer patients are diagnosed with the disease at or after the age of 55.

For younger women, like many of those who attended the C4YW, the odds are even lower. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, just 2 percent are under the age of 35, the NCI states.

Attendee Julia Bradford Moore, who is also a preacher, said of the conference: "I have an awesome time, and I don’t want the younger women to be forgotten. Working together, we can make a difference."

Sources:

Stroup S. Breast cancer conference brings information, encouragement to young women. New Orleans Times-Picayune. February 19, 2012.
http://www.nola.com/living/index.ssf/2012/02/c4yw_brings_information_and_en.html Accessed February 21, 2012.

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