Tuesday, 28 January 2020

BRiC's Collective Voice: Friendships in breast cancer

BRiC is: "Immeasurable". "A connection like no others understand". "Educational, supportive, and downright hilarious."

This week our BRiC members discussed the value of friends and friendship in coping post diagnosis and beyond into survivorship.

Psychological care is lacking post breast cancer diagnosis. While medicine is doing an increasingly good job in treating physical symptoms of breast cancer, the psychological challenges post breast cancer increase once active treatment for primary BC is over. In secondary breast cancer such challenges weigh even heavier.

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Research shows that the mind and body work together, so it is vital that psychological well-being is prioritised to promote better quality of life as well as keep us stronger physically.

In our discussion, almost everyone of us voiced the value of online groups such as BRiC, the 'virtual' friends we've made, stronger even when we've met in person, because we have been able to connect even more. We've cried, laughed, and held hands. A recent meetup of ours in London was spoken of as feeling like "A warm blanket" "An extended family" "An assurance that we are not alone". As many of our members highlighted BRiC has been the safest group they've ever joined.

Moving Forward courses have also provided a platform for small groups of us to stay in touch and meet up, understand each other, when it has been hard to open up to family and cancer free friends. 'Bossom Pals', 'Breast Buddies' WhatsApp groups and other names we've used to treasure our friendship. The friends we've made through Maggies, Cancer Support groups, as well as Yoga for Cancer classes have helped us enormously too.

Sadly, many of us have lost our previous friends post breast cancer, and we've had friends who've abandoned us. As such, the value of friends we make post breast cancer diagnosis becomes even more pertinent.

We can be nervous when we first meet with our new online friends in person, but we soon feel connected and understood, feeling free to talk without being judged, and to know that our friends 'get it'.

So, here is a little 'thank you' to all of us for being there, online or in person.

If you are a woman with breast cancer and are living in the UK and would like to join our group please message us here and we will get back to you.

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