(BPT) - Advocating for yourself is one of the most important things you can do when facing a breast cancer diagnosis — but you don’t have to do it alone. You might not be aware that Black women (non-Hispanic) are about twice as likely as white women (non-Hispanic) to have triple-negative breast cancer, or TNBC, a fast-moving and aggressive type of breast cancer. TNBC accounts for about 10-15% of all breast cancers.
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with or is fighting TNBC, don’t give up hope. Here are some ways to empower yourself and build a strong support system.
1. Be inspired by other women. Remember, you’re not alone. Hearing other women’s experiences with TNBC may help you feel connected. Uncovering TNBC is a recent program launched by Merck, in collaboration with the breast cancer advocacy community and Emmy-nominated actress Yvonne Orji, to share the real-life stories of Black women diagnosed with TNBC. In a three-episode docuseries, Sharon, Tiah and Damesha share their TNBC diagnosis stories with Yvonne and how they are making a difference for other women like them.
2. Know that it’s OK to ask for help. A cancer diagnosis is a serious matter. You don’t always have to carry the weight of this alone. Many people seek therapy or the support of friends and family members. Ultimately, it’s most important that you are cared for — both your physical health and emotional health.
3. Look for breast cancer support groups in your area or online. There are several breast cancer groups that can offer support, information or just a listening ear for when you need to talk to someone. If you are struggling to find a group, ask your nurses or doctor to recommend some to try. Everyone has different needs, so it is important that you find one that works for you.
4. Bring a friend or loved one to your appointments. Finding out you have TNBC can be overwhelming — but you don’t have to take this journey alone. Friends and loved ones can help you feel supported and help you to speak up for yourself with your health care team.
5. Visit UncoverTNBC.com to download a Health Care Team Discussion Guide. Your health care team is there to answer your questions and help you understand your options. This list of questions can help you talk with your doctor, nurse or others on your care team to understand your treatment options, and hopefully guide you through your next steps. Consider printing the discussion guide at https://www.uncovertnbc.com/pdfs/TNBC_Dr_Discussion_guide.pdf to take with you on your next visit with your health care team.