Report Seeks National Standard of Care in Canada for Young Women with Breast Cancer

An organization devoted to supporting younger women with breast cancer, Rethink Breast Cancer, has called for a national standard of care for this population, whose rigorousness of disease and treatment can differ considerably from their older counterparts. A report published by the group on Thursday, pointed out that women suffering from the disease under the age bracket of 20 to 45 from all over the country must be given access to nurse navigators for helping them to cope through the process of diagnosis and treatment, while setting them in touch with community resources aimed at helping them deal with issues particular to their age group.

The report presented results of a survey conducted on 574 young Canadian women that were diagnosed with breast cancer, or a recurrence of the disease, who faced trouble while navigating the health-care system, finding similar-aged peers with the disease and acquiring trustworthy referrals for fertility preservation. The executive director and founder of Rethink Breast Cancer, M.J. Decoteau, stated that “they feel that their concerns are maybe not taken as seriously by health-care providers.” She explained that “we heard time and time again of young women [being told] ’Oh, you’re too young to have breast cancer. We’ll keep an eye on it. Don’t worry about it.”’

She explained that “part of it is they maybe just don’t have the life experience of someone in their fifties or sixties. So they’re thrown into this upheaval at a very young age, trying to figure out what the doctor is saying. ’How do I get to treatment? What are all the things that are happening to me?”’

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