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    17 Things No One Tells You About Breast Cancer

    "I didn't do anything to get cancer."

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they wish people knew about breast cancer. Here are their responses:

    1. Breast cancer isn't something you can overcome with sheer will.

    2. And dying from cancer doesn't mean someone didn't fight hard enough.

    Christinaloehr / Getty Images / Via

    "I wish people would stop using 'he/she lost the battle, lost the fight' to me, losing has a negative connotation and cancer is a disease, not a competition. Both my parents died from cancer, they never lost any battles, they just got very sick and died."

    —Ivan A. Cintron Colon, Facebook

    3. Breast cancer can hit anyone...

    Airman Magazine / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: airmanmagazine

    "I am a 30-year old mother-of-two living with stage 4 breast cancer. I was diagnosed about a week after my 30th birthday. I wish I didn't forget that just because you're young doesn't mean you're invincible, and just because you're a parent doesn't mean you're exempt."

    —Nari Han Miller, Facebook

    4. ...Of any age...

    5. ...And any gender.

    6. And most people don't know 'why' they got breast cancer.

    4thfullmood / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 4thfullmoon

    "I didn't 'do' anything to get cancer. It's not in my family, I didn't eat the wrong foods. I just had bad cells. Stop asking me why. I don't know."

    —Julianne Beach, Facebook

    7. Sometimes, all the pink ribbons and fun runs can be isolating and distracting.

    "The party atmosphere often surrounding pink ribbon promotions and campaigns conceals the harsh, devastating effects of breast cancer. We are not celebrating a holiday. This is not a sporting event where the side wearing the most team colors wins. Many women afflicted by breast cancer are troubled with how the pink marketing culture has distracted us from the goal of a cure, and as someone diagnosed with the disease in 2011, I feel the same way."

    —Camille Gryszka Miller, Facebook

    8. Just because someone seems incredibly brave, that doesn't mean they aren't also scared shitless.

    Laura Taylor / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: bookgrl

    "The scars can be scary, and while you feel brave for getting through this bout, you always wonder if you'll have another, and part of you, even if it's deep down, worries that current or future partners might be bothered by them."


    9. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to talk about your breast cancer.

    Anna Borges / Via

    "I wish I would have known that it's be incredibly hard to talk about in certain social situations, especially work, and to not put myself down and feel awkward for being uncomfortable with it."

    —Kalin Delfino, Facebook

    10. But please, don't pull away from your friends who are sick.

    Jenny Chang / Via

    "Abandoning me because you don't know what to say hurts worse than you saying the wrong thing. I don't need my friends to solve my problems; I just need my friends."

    —Andrea Reynolds, Facebook

    11. If you have no idea where to start, just ask how you can help.

    BuzzFeed Life

    "If you want to help someone with breast cancer, bring them a meal to freeze. Drive the kids to school, or offer to drive them to treatments and sit through them with them. Give money to the actual family in need. Babysit. Tidy up the house or the garden. Wash their car. Help with the little things that seem less important at the time. I appreciated it more than any dumb pink ribbon."


    12. Catchy slogans may raise awareness, but they're not always helpful and relatable.

    13. While positivity is always welcome, please don't downplay the severity of this disease.

    Monthian / Getty Images / Via

    "It's not OK because it's 'just breast cancer' instead of a 'worse cancer.'"


    14. And remember, having a mastectomy with breast reconstruction surgery isn't really the same as a typical breast augmentation.

    15. Even when someone seems to be healthy, that doesn't mean they aren't still dealing with mental, physical, or emotional aspects of the disease.

    16. Because sometimes what comes after breast cancer treatment can be the hardest part.

    Jenny Chang / Via

    "The sense of fighting to survive leaves and you are left with depression, anxiety, debt, lack of job opportunities, lack of romantic prospects, fear of the cancer returning and a load of other issues that none of the doctors ever address. You are left alone to figure out the clusterfuck that is now your life. Your cancer family — other people with cancer you meet along the way — will become your lifelong family and will be the people who truly understand what you are going through."


    17. Above all, be there for your loved ones living with breast cancer, and remind them of how important they truly are.

    Anna Borges / Via

    "I wish I could remind myself every day that I am not DYING of cancer, but LIVING with cancer. I wish I could remind myself every day that I'd rather have this life than no life at all."

    —Nari Han Miller, Facebook

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