Learn from Smart Women

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Nicole Seagriff was 26 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago.  Now a board member of The Pink Agenda, Seagriff shares her story to empower young women experiencing the same diagnosis.  Last month, she hosted an event to raise awareness about how breast cancer can impact relationships and intimacy for young women.  The frank discussion took place over a breakfast featuring culinary creations by Chef Marc Murphy, where Seagriff was joined by Dr. Marc Hulbert, Chief Mission Officer of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  For me, the discussion was an opportunity to better understand what 'your new normal' means to young breast cancer survivors in an intimate and personal environment.  Here is what I learned from the breakfast with these inspirational women. 


Purchase a Sophia Rose Mastectomy bra here.


Dr. Hulbert shared that issues with body image are not uncommon, given that we're constantly surrounded by extremely rigid and uniform standards of beauty of what it means to be a woman.  Not surprisingly, when you add breast cancer into the mix, it adds an extra layer of complexity that most people can't even imagine as one to two-thirds of breast cancer survivors experience issues with body image.  Breast cancer treatments often involve physical changes, some of which have a detrimental effect on a woman's self-confidence.  It was eye-opening to hear that breast cancer survivors are sometimes reluctant to talk about these issues because they feel like others might view them as trivial compared to a life-threatening diagnosis.  


Related to the body image issues mentioned above, for many young women affected by breast cancer, dating can be a challenge.  Not only do breast cancer survivors have to accept changes to their bodies, but they might also worry about how someone else will react to their experience with cancer, mastectomy scars, or reconstructed breasts.  It was encouraging to hear from Seagriff that so far, she has had a very positive experience with dating, and most of the men she has dated have been supportive and understanding of her situation as well.  


Seagriff discussed some of the pressures of motherhood for young breast cancer survivors with the BRCA gene test, which can include finding a partner and having children as soon as possible in order to have their ovaries removed at age 35 as a preventative measure for ovarian cancer.  In addition, some young breast cancer survivors face the fear of not being able to participate in motherhood in conventional ways, such as breast feeding.  


Breast cancer survivors are sometimes reluctant to talk about these issues, feeling like others might view them as trivial compared to a life-threatening diagnosis.


If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these new challenges, visit The Pink Agenda for resources and community events and take part in their mission: Engaging today’s generation can go a long way toward finding tomorrow’s cure, The Pink Agenda finds, funds, and partners with people and programs that are improving the lives of those suffering from breast cancer and conducting the groundbreaking research necessary to improve their odds.’


Adelene is a Co-Founder of Sophia Rose Intimates, a lingerie brand for breast cancer survivors that is committed to creating beautiful, comfortable, and quality bras and underwear.  Her mission is to prove to the world that lingerie for breast cancer survivors should and can exist in the mainstream market, by creating a bra that caters to the needs of ALL women: whether you wear a prosthesis, have undergone reconstruction, or have your natural breasts and prefer the comfort of an wireless bra!  


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