We all know how integral surgery is for the treatment of breast cancer. It’s usually the first step in treating early stages of the disease which means it can come quickly after diagnosis. The time when you’re still processing your diagnosis is also the time when you’re making some of the most important decisions about your treatment. Trying to make these decisions while learning this new, complicated language called cancer doesn’t make those decisions any easier.
No person truly understands what it’s like to be diagnosed with breast cancer until it happens to them. It can be terrifying and overwhelming and can take physical and psychological tolls on a person’s body. 1 in every 8 Canadian women will hear the words “You have breast cancer” in her lifetime and 5,000 Canadians die from metastatic breast cancer each year. That means 26,000+ women every year have to live through surgery, chemo, radiation and side effects like fatigue, depression, chemo brain, and nausea, all while balancing their work and home life. Understanding the lived experience of a diagnosis like this is imperative to improving support for patients, survivors and their families.
Together we can accomplish great things! It’s always amazing to watch how individuals coming together as one united voice can truly make a difference in the lives of others.
On May 1st and 2nd I had the pleasure of representing CBCN at an Advisory Committee meeting for the Inuit Cancer Project lead by Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada in Iqaluit, NU. This meeting gave those involved in the project an opportunity to meet face to face to discuss an overview of the project, how it was proceeding, along with an update of recent activities and roundtable discussions. These roundtable discussions included opportunities to speak about lessons learned, ways to build community engagement, community capacity and next steps.
It’s powerful what happens when patients, caregivers, and clinicians come together to look at research priorities; a broad list of questions that encompasses a variety of viewpoints emerges.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about new metastatic breast cancer treatments that can greatly extend the lives of many people in Canada. Targeted therapies are changing the landscape for mBC in a big way.
February 4th marks World Cancer Day, a global event that takes place every year uniting people around the world who are concerned about the fight against cancer. Currently, 8.8 million people die from cancer globally every year and breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
This year I was honoured to participate as a patient representative on the steering committee of the Canadian Cancer Research Conference hosted by the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance at the beginning of November.
This holiday season consider adding CBCN to your list for charitable giving! Here’s what you’ll be supporting.
CBCN is excited to announce that we’ve been awarded an international SPARC grant, Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community: Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge, to develop a mBC Financial Resources Navigation Tool.
Increasingly the not-for-profit advocacy world has been clouded with criticism of industry funding. Many critics believe that any organization that receives funding from the pharmaceutical industry is automatically biased, but this ignores the great pains that health charities often go through to remain unbiased, ethical and credible. And it certainly does not reflect the patient-centric approach that CBCN takes.
How valuable is patient input to decision-makers and how can we work to make sure that the patient voice is really being heard? These are just some of the important questions that I and many others gathered to discuss at the annual Breast Cancer Patient Group Forum in Vienna, Austria.
Recently, I celebrated my 5-year anniversary at CBCN. The thing that has become the most evident to me over these 5 years is that every single person’s experience with breast cancer is unique. Just when I think I’ve heard every story, I meet or hear from someone new and am reminded that every person diagnosed with breast cancer in this country has their own set of experiences and challenges to overcome while dealing with their diagnosis.
This June I had the opportunity to attend the Europa Donna Metastatic Breast Cancer Advocacy Conference in Italy. The chair of our board, Cathy, was asked to speak and I was happy to join her to share with the group the advocacy that CBCN has been doing in Canada. While most of the participants that attended were representing various organizations, it was interesting learning that many of them were also women who were living with metastatic breast cancer.
I had the privilege to attend the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s (CPAC) Conference on Optimal Approaches to Cancer Care in Canada. This was the first time that CPAC hosted this conference. Its purpose was to explore 4 key themes to cancer control: initiatives in quality care, economics of high-quality care, improving the quality of cancer diagnosis, and overcoming inertia in the cancer system (why don’t we do what we know works?).
On April 24th and 25th I was pleased to attend the 2017 CADTH Symposium in Ottawa. "Value in Health Care" was the conference aim, specifically how to define it, how to measure it and how to include it in our health system. But what is CADTH?