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Are you a breast cancer survivor who happens to be childless?



  • smokie08smokie08 AdelaideMember Posts: 155
    Hi Janet A I am also childless  by choice . I  wonder sometimes  if by using  the  contraceptive  injection  for  years  and the pill contributed to my cancer . Mine  was  TNBC so  no  hormones  involved  it just plays on the mind  sometimes . Did you say you were from  Adelaide  as well? 
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 254
    Well, the conversation from him was certainly sensitive to me and my concerns and he took time with me in the conversation. He says there is no connection? Have studies been done, no.  There is always a doubt in the back of my mind though, imagine if it did get out and there was some sort of connection....all those hormones they pump us with, experimentation certainly of our bodies, I was a pioneer of sorts back in 1990 it was all new stuff then. He was vague in saying that no, is it protection for the institution? This just highlights our concerns as a group and the questions that don't get answered which brought me to start this conversation.
    I would like to get statistics on this and the connection of childlessness and bc just for peace of mind. 
    I still have a house in Encounter Bay, I love it there. The Heysen trail is so special to be able to walk along the coast hey. Getting busy now though!

  • Kari_2015Kari_2015 Townsville, QueenslandMember Posts: 107
    Hi Ladies, I am 45 and childless by choice.  I just never felt a strong enough desire to have my own.  I have ended up raising 3 step children, and I think this has definately helped me not having any regrets for my decision.  I have felt left out in many, many, many situations....not just BC.  I joined a young women's BC FB page (I am sort of in the middle of the age groups) but find it hard to connect as mostly have small children.
    I feel for those that wanted children but were not able, especially when there are so many women who have them and then decide to walk away (like my circumstances).  So many things in life just seem so unfair.
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 254
    Yes, perhaps unfair but I guess my point is we are a demographic, 1 in 5 women, so we count! We have concerns about our health so far I can't find many answers but I'm onto it.
    We can say woes to me but to find a group where you can express an opinion and be answered is fairly special. I am not looking for a group that talks about the why nots but a group who's opinion matters. Childless women hardly ever get asked, famous quote from Julia Gillard to Barack Obama, 'you think being black and president is difficult, try being white single female without children'. We have so much to bring to the table, we have the advantage of allowing children to grow and be free without the restraints that a mother might bestow on their children in fear of accidents or whatever. 
    Smokie, originally from Victor Harbor now living in North Queensland in a beautiful valley south of Mackay. 
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,606
    I asked my GP a few years ago (long before I was diagnosed with BC) what her thoughts were regarding IVF and breast or ovarian cancer.  Her response was: no evidence but also little research, so she wouldn't rule it out as a possible factor.  And I suspect it could be the same for long term hormonal contraceptive use - I think they took the high dose oestrogen Pill off the market years ago for that reason (but I may be misremembering).
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 636
    From what I've learned, as it happens, nuns are, as a demographic, at  a higher risk. Risk factors (amongst  others) are...early menarche (first period), no pregnancies, no or little breastfeeding, overweight, alcohol and more. There is also recent and ongoing research into breast cancer in transgender (male to female) people. Seems to me that the hormones play a large role. The pregnancies and extended breastfeeding change things. I know that for me, I had one period between conceiving my son, breastfeeding him for two years and four months, conceiving my daughter (there was the one period inbetween), and then feeding her for two years and one month. I started my periods at age fourteen, had three babies (lost one),  fed two for extended periods of time, had no family history at all, was not overweight, very occasional social drinker, and so statistically, should have been low risk. Tell that to the Cosmic Clowns.
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 254
    I guess we made these decisions mindfully at the time, we can't go back on the past. We did what was right for us at the time.
    I would like to find out more on statistics of these things purely for curiousity sake. We are walking on fresh ground with all these hormonal issues our grandmothers didn't deal with years ago. I found these days we seem to want to find a reason, criticism from other people, they want to know what I did in order to control their bodies through diet or whatever in order to avoid. So blaming is fruitless, whilst annoying but there are some things out of our control.
    Thanks for taking the time to answer. And I didn't have family history of bc either! 

  • viking1viking1 Perth, Western Australia, NORMember Posts: 288
    I am 53 and had my lumpectomy last year.  There is no breast cancer in my family on either side. I would have loved to have had kids but seemed to forget to until at 35 my biological clock was yelling!  Had a few long term relationships and by agreement didn't use protection.  Had a menstrual cycle that was extremely precise all my life and basically just stopped around 50.  Never had any gynae issues.  Very minor menopause symptoms - just hot flushes for a month or two. Had a miscarriage when 37 at 7 weeks.  My sister is 51 and extremely fertile! My mum had me at 30.  Not sure why it didn't work for me other than a long history of depression and anxiety since 26.  Don't know if that could have stopped me falling pregnant.  I also read about the nuns and their high incidences of breast and ovarian cancer.  It would be interesting to see a statistic re childlessness and chance of occurrence of breast cancer.  Even though we know from our sisters on here that some have many kids, others are into amazingly healthy diets and some are athletes pre breast cancer. Statistics on all this would form a wider picture.  My feeling with my own chemo onc is that her response to my questions was 'it doesn't matter how you got it, you have it' - she is very busy tho and not into bedside manner!;)
  • Mrs_HMrs_H Brisbane SouthsideMember Posts: 99
    Another member here. No kids and diagnosed at 29. I don’t really like kids and didn’t really want my own. Thankfully my hubby thinks the same way. I’ve found a lot of the young people with breast cancer groups mostly cater for women with babies/kids. Not a criticism just an observation. I’ve been thankful not to have kids going through this, I get to be selfish about my needs and time which is not something most mums going through this get, even with all the help in the world. Mothers guilt eh (so my mother keeps telling me  :D). Cheers, Jen.
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 254
    Thanks Viking 1 and Mrs H!
    The reason for this post in the first place was to see how many others are on this forum who are childless and if anyone knew any statistics you mention. It's more out of curiosity to know the risks for our demographic. Studies are conducted for just about everything else. 
    I live in a rural community focused on families, our two support groups in Mackay are catering for older women and young mothers so I haven't gone along, one because it was a bit of a drive and we drove to Mackay so many times for appointments and treatment and two, I wouldn't have much in common with the two groups. I was originally looking for a group I could relate to but didn't find one not even online. This kind of forces us into self-reliance, there is a frustration of not finding a group and not being able to help others in the same position. 
    In answer to Viking 1, why do we live in a society that doesn't consider childlessness in an empathic way? I hope your onc is a good one in spite of her bedside manner! I'd love to tackle the perception of childlessness.
    We have excellent breast care nurses in Mackay, whenever we need advise they are there for all of us. I am disappointed to say on a phone call to one, I asked the question of how many women they know who are childless and was she aware of the higher risk factor in childless women and bc. She got quite alienated by the questions, she said she googled and found no evidence and couldn't wait to get off the phone. I felt bad because I asked the question because she's such a lovely person and so helpful. I felt bad for asking. 

  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,986

    A nurse googles and finds nothing. Ergo, there is nothing to find. Sigh.

    I've been puddling around in Cochrane, there are studies relating to this.

    The term to use is Nullipara or Nulliparous 



    There is more in Pub Med --sometimes you can only get at the abstracts if you don't have a log on.


    https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1945957-overview Medscape will give you access to limited articles as a guest

    This stuff may not be helpful, but some of the references are very good and may give you some language tools if you feel like you are being fobbed off when you want to ask more specific questions.


  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,164
    @Janet A

    Perhaps you could research the BCNA website and or ask BCNA direct for any clues to find some of the information you are asking for.  

    For me personally my Breast Cancer was attributed to both being childless, which is something I am not willing to share with the world and I am sure some others may feel a little the same and my age group. I think my age group attribute would be the deciding factor if I pushed the professionals for a reason why.  

    The reason why was not relevant when I was diagnosed, it was about how do we get to a No Evidence of Disease and a happy ever after solution!

    Take care and good luck with your researching
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,164
    @brightspace Thanks for the like above!  It really is a sensitive topic being childless and I have found that this post has stirred memories.  As I said it is not for sharing with the world as it is in our past and although there is tinges of sadness at times we are overall a happy married couple coming up to 40 years and looking forward to this bump in the road called BC being a distant memory and ready for the next phase of life.  Just these damned side effects that are showing their ugly side at present but that is all part of the roller coaster!

    Take care and thanks again
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,944
    @Janet A

    a good conversation to have, I reckon,

    I am 65 this year and never been pregnant or had a child.  There is no cancer history at all (that I am aware of) in either side of My family.  I am the first.

    I actually went to a Nun’s school during my primary school years .... and had forever heard that breast cancer was often called ‘The Nun’s Disease’ ..... but when I mentioned this to my surgeon, that being childless may have contributed to me ‘getting it’ .... he laughed. 

    However, so many of these sayings may be attributed to  some sort of historical observation!  Who knows!

    Good luck with your research! 
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 254
    Thank you for your comments, yes it does stir up memories but that highlights what a roller coaster it is without bc. I have kept quiet for so many years I don't even think why I do, maybe I am sick of the comments? For me now it's about awareness of what we live with, how hurtful it can be. Perhaps I am used to the way things are after all. 
    Thanks for the links as well Zoffiel! I will check it out. Love your first comment. 

    I hope to post these comments doesn't come across as a negative thing, I think we all are brave survivors in more ways than one, it's been a lovely experience chatting with you all.

    Thanks arpie! Interesting how you say Nun's disease, I too have been laughed at or with over suggesting such a thing.....and thank you for your encouragement as well. 
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