Breast Cancer: Ten Things a Survivor's Teenage Daughter Needs to Know

"Will my Mom die?" is the first question most children want answered when their mother is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, but "teenage girls have other important concerns as well,"

Raleigh, NC-- "Will my Mom die?" is the first question most children want answered when their mother is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, but "teenage girls have other important concerns as well," says Amelia Frahm, a nationally recognized expert on families coping with cancer and author of the book Tickles Tabitha's Caner-tankerous Mommy (Nutcracker Publishing, 2001.)

Frahm, a Breast Cancer survivor, discovered this first hand when her daughter, Tabitha, then 14, told a reporter during an interview she just always assumed she was destined to get Breast Cancer and, "never thought I wouldn't get it."

Along with Tabitha, now 19, Frahm lists ten things a breast cancer survivor's teenage daughter needs to know.

1. Just because your mother got it does not guarantee you will get it. Yes, your odds of being diagnosed with Breast Cancer have increased due to her Breast Cancer, but so have your odds of surviving it due to the fact you now know to be diligent
when it comes to your own breast health. According to the American Cancer Society the overall five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer is 98%.

2. Breast Cancer is no one's fault, and anyone who suggests your mother would not have it if she had or had not__(fill in the blank)__ is a tactless idiot. Tell them they are misinformed and suggest they get a volunteer job at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

3. Some boys are obsessed with breasts, but most of them grow up to be men who will not love a woman based on breasts alone. If you run into a guy who has not grown up, keep running and do not waste your valuable time. He is not smart enough for you or he would realize that these days you can implant breasts but not intelligence.

4. It is okay to touch your own private parts and you should do it often enough that you become familiar with your own breasts. Back in the day (Mom's day) good girls were not always encouraged to do this, and sometimes a woman's significant other found their lump. Don't let this happen to you-find your own lump!

5. Getting hit in the chest does not cause Breast Cancer. It only feels like it. Nor does wearing deodorant. So wear it. Breast Cancer is not to be used to evoke pity or justify something you are too lazy to do.

6. Do not whine that you might as well, smoke, drink, and live on the edge because you are destined to die of Breast Cancer, so you want to make the most of it. Your mother is not dead yet and as long as she is alive it is her goal as a Mom to make sure you outlive her. It is your duty as her daughter not to evoke gray hairs and frown lines, or to witness your Mom survive Breast Cancer only to die due to worry.

7. Every other week there is a new "study" showing something to help prevent Breast Cancer, and unless it is illegal or immoral, by all means try it, but do not stop examining yourself, going for a physical, and getting a mammogram when you think you need it. Although it is a good idea to take preventative measures, there are no guarantees.

8. Size does not matter. Women of all sizes get Breast Cancer and so do men. So if you have a brother, tell him to pay attention. While he is listening he needs to know any guy dumb enough to like a girl based on her breasts or any man who would leave a woman because of a Breast Cancer diagnosis is not a man, but a spine-less scumbag. Good riddance!

9. Doctors are not God. Trust your own instincts. If a doctor advises you that some women are prone to lumps, your lump is probably caused by drinking too much coffee, or you are too young to worry about it, and is reluctant to do a mammogram or biopsy, change doctors. Too many women who trusted their doctor and not their inner voice have ended up dead.

10. When you shower, use soap and while sudsy practice giving yourself a breast exam. The first thing your Mom thought about when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer was how it would affect you. She would like for you to die of old age, not Breast Cancer due to stupidity. You are your best health care advocate. Information on how to do a self-exam and Breast Self-Examination Shower Cards may be found the Susan G. Komen Shop for the Cure.

The first thing a Mother thinks about when diagnosed with Breast Cancer is how it will affect her children. The last thing she wants is her own daughter to be diagnosed with it, but there is some relief in knowing your diagnosis could help save your daughter's life.

Tabitha Frahm is a college student majoring in Psychology . Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy (Nutcracker Publishing 2001) pictures what she and her brother Jordan went through during her Mom's cancer diagnosis.

Amelia Frahm is an award-winning children's book author, and creator of Crack Open A Book! which offers cancer education programs for children and adults to schools and health care educators, and introduces Tickles Tabitha. She is a nationally recognized expert on families coping with cancer.