11th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer (C4YW)
11th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer
Being diagnosed with breast cancer at any age is an overwhelming and frightening experience, but being diagnosed with breast cancer when you are a younger woman brings its own unique challenges. Facing a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment at a time when a young woman is typically focussed on establishing her career, studying, dating, getting married or starting a family affects her in a variety of psychosocial and practical ways. She may feel isolated and alone as she comes to terms with fertility issues, early menopause, changing body image, maintaining a career while undergoing treatment, insurance issues, and financial concerns.
Now imagine a place where she can feel less alone, a place where she can share her story with other young women who understand, a place where she can empower herself with the latest information on treatment options and learn new ways to cope and move on with her life.
On the last weekend in February, at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Fl, that place became a reality for hundreds of young women living with breast cancer. We travelled from all across the globe to gather for the 11th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer (C4YW). Thanks to a generous scholarship program which provides grants to participants to attend the conference, EDI members, Marie Ennis and Dympna Watson were able to be a part of this unique weekend of learning and networking.
C4YW is the only international conference for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45. The mission of the conference is to motivate and lend support to women whose diagnosis has had an impact on their family, friends, partners and children in a way that isn’t necessarily related to that of her counterpart who was diagnosed at an older age. The conference takes place over three stimulating days of workshops, plenary presentations, and fun events. These social events help women gain a sense of unity as they realize that there is a network within their individual breast cancer journey.
Throughout the weekend, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops designed to promote participants’ understanding of the physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects of life with breast cancer. Some of the topics are repeated each year – healthy living, fertility, reconstruction, intimacy and sexuality being among the most popular; and new topics for this year’s conference included advocacy and inclusion, survivorship care plans, and creating a legacy in letters.
Armed with the latest medical and scientific research, new contacts made among exhibitors and attendees and stories shared by inspirational young surivors, C4YW has empowered us to become more purposeful advocates for younger women with breast cancer.
You can learn more about the conference at the C4YW website: http://www.c4yw.org/