"Breasties": Young women support each other after breast cancer diagnosis


It's been said that unexpected friendships are the best ones.

That's exactly how this group of young ladies started a special bond.

"They called and all I heard them say this isn't easy and I heard cancer and I tuned everything out," explains Lauren Mandell.

"It was shocking all along I didn't think it was breast cancer either, I'm only 26," says Lauren Hafley.

Both Mandell and Hafley were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20's.

Now 33 and 27, after meeting at the Stephanie Spielman Cancer Center, the two are part of a group they call the "Breasties." They're all women in their 20's and 30's who've battled breast cancer.

"I'm the newest one to the group. They've all been through everything I'm going through right now. If I don't know what to expect I can ask, they can tell me," Hafley says.

The "Breasties" tell each other things like the side effects of chemo or what to expect in radiation and surgery.

While Mandell says friends and family like her niece Grace and brother Ryan bring her so much joy and support, the "Breasties" give Lauren what others can't.

"I think your friends and family try to get it but unless you've been through it, you don't truly get it," Mandell says.

They get things like the importance of spreading the word about cancer in younger women and giving their advice to all women.

"Just know your body and if you think something is wrong and go to your doctor and if they think it's nothing, get a second opinion," Mandell advises.

"I don't think you need a mammogram til your 40's. And I know 15 girls who had breast cancer in their 20's and 30's, it's scary how much it's getting diagnosed at an early age," Hanley adds.

Scary for these young women who've been through it with each other, celebrating every milestone and chance at life.

Fewer than five percent of all breast cancer diagnosed in the U.S. occur in women under 40.

According to Komen Columbus, with treatment, the chances of survival for young women diagnosed with early breast cancer are good.

However, prognosis tends to be worse in women under 40 than in older women.

Click here to learn more about breast cancer in younger women.