Young women’s experiences with breast cancer: An imperative for tailored information and support

Margaret I. Fitch, R. E. Gray, R. Godel, M. Labrecque


This work was undertaken to provide a basis for determining the type of assistance young women living with breast cancer would find useful. In-depth interviews were conducted with 28 women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 years about their experiences with breast cancer. They ranged in age from 28 to 42 years at the time of diagnosis. Three overarching themes emerged from the analysis—“everything depends on acting now,” “everything is out of sync,” and “cancer invaded my whole life.” These women shared perspectives similar to those of older women, but also held perspectives unique to being young, with young families and busy career lives. Many found services did not match their requirements and they urged the creation of services tailored to their unique needs.

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