Breast Cancer in Young Women (Young Survival Coalition) (YSC)
YSC’s programs and resources are designed to meet a young woman’s need from the time she is diagnosed through her entire breast cancer experience. We have programs focused on the newly diagnosed, those currently in treatment or who have been out of treatment for any length of time, as well as long-term survivorship. YSC also serves as the largest resource and peer support network for young women who have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and for healthy young women who are at risk for breast cancer.
When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she is immediately faced with a number of complicated decisions that will have potentially dramatic impacts on her quality of life, as well as her life expectancy. Throughout her cancer journey, beginning with her initial diagnosis and progressing through treatment, post-treatment, long-term survivorship, and possible recurrence or metastasis, she will need to act as her own health advocate to navigate the increasingly sophisticated and complex medical system.
YSC understands the complexity that a breast cancer diagnosis represents. In addition to navigating the disease itself and various treatment protocols, the woman has to manage the fear, stress and depression that typically accompany a cancer diagnosis. She has to weigh the impact of her medical decisions on her career, her family and her relationships. Once she has completed treatment, she will have to contend with long term side effects of treatment that can compromise her fertility, heart health and bone health. For the rest of her life, she will live with a fear of recurrence or metastasis.
In order to support young women affected by breast cancer across the entire spectrum of their needs and throughout the entirety of their cancer experience, YSC has created the suite of services which are designed to provide:
• Access to Knowledge: YSC provides a series of educational web-based programs, videos and expert-led webinars to help young women affected by breast cancer develop their medical literacy and cancer knowledge. YSC offers a series of patient navigation tools that are designed to provide a “Cancer 101” education, explain how to read a pathology report, help women ask their doctors critical questions about their treatment plans, manage their personal medical information and navigate practical challenges such as managing family needs while undergoing treatment.
• Access to Experience: By creating in-person and online peer-to-peer networking forums, YSC provides young women with access to other survivors who have personal experience managing their treatment and side effects as well as the emotional and practical challenges associated with a breast cancer diagnosis. Other survivors can provide practical solutions for dealing with side effects. They can provide coping mechanisms for handling the realities of living with a chronic disease. They can provide connections to local specialists and resources.
• Access to Resources: Most people are not prepared for the financial and other practical challenges of a cancer diagnosis. YSC maintains a robust database of local and national support resources. Our directory of resources is available as both a print directory and an online, searchable directory.
• Access to Support: A sophisticated medical system that is designed to target cancer treatment often fails to address cancer patients’ well-documented psychosocial support needs. To address this gap, YSC provides constituents with a range of forums to access much needed support. Our support services are designed to be flexible. They are offered both in-person and online in order to be more widely accessible to our constituents who are managing competing demands on their time. We offer both professional-led and peer-led support groups. We provide women with access to structured, medically focused support groups, as well as less formal, social and networking groups. We manage a vibrant and growing online community that is accessible 24x7. We sponsor local networking and educational events, creating opportunities for young women battling breast cancer to meet other young survivors who can mentor them, advise them, comfort them and celebrate milestones and life events with them.