The Voice of Canadians With Breast Cancer

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Our Voices Blog


Contributor : CBCN Team

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

When faced with the worst moments of life, we have two choices: lie down and die or stand up and fight. This was never truer than when I received my breast cancer diagnosis. I knew I had no other choice than to fight it with a smile on my face and as much positivity as I could muster – even if I had to fake it to make it, as they say. My boys looked at me with fear in their eyes and sadness in their hearts. This would be a defining time in their lives. I was (and still am) determined to make it a teachable moment: how to face life’s adversities and how your mindset can change everything, a lesson we could all learn.

Why Advocate For Breast Cancer, Especially if You’ve Been Diagnosed

I’m writing a different type of article because October is Canadian Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This article isn’t just about me or you. It’s for all of the women who are currently or yet to be diagnosed with breast cancer. So I need to be blunt.

Just Breathe

I was diagnosed in December 2019 at the age of 47. I was healthy, happy and at the height of my career.  Just as I said to my husband of 25 years “Life just can’t get any better”, our world came to a grinding halt - “you have breast cancer”.

Breast Cancer Awareness is About More Than Pink Ribbons

Breast cancer awareness is about more than pink ribbons. Yes, we said it! It’s more than telling the world that breast cancer merely exists. We all undoubtedly know that it exists, and we likely all know someone touched by breast cancer. And yet, time and again, we hear patients say, “I wish I had known.” Because there is so much about breast cancer that goes unspoken.

Virtual Exercise and Care for Individuals Living with Breast Cancer

Exercise has numerous benefits for individuals with breast cancer. These include a reduction in the severity of side effects of treatment, improved physical and mental health, and an overall sense of improved wellness. In addition, appropriate exercise is safe and plays a key part of care for lymphedema. Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling of the arms, hands, breast, or torso and generally occurs when the lymph node or lymphatic vessels are removed or damaged. Encouraging muscle movement and breathing techniques, during exercise, allows to stimulate the lymphatic system and helps improve lymph flow. Tailored exercise guidelines for cancer survivors have been developed and implemented worldwide. These guidelines recommend aiming for 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise two to three times per week, along with resistance training of all major muscle groups twice a week, with an emphasis on cancer-specific considerations and safety precautions.

My Breasts Are My Boobs

It’s safe to say I think about my breasts a lot. Wait. I just wrote breasts. Not boobs, tits, coconuts, gazongas or even The Girls. Breasts. Ugh. Having breast cancer has done this to me. It’s made me think of my boobs as breasts.

Where the Federal Parties Stand on Health-Related Issues

On August 15th, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party called for a federal election. While there are a many of items and issues to look out for from each parties’ platform, we have dedicated this post to the key takeaways from each party regarding health, healthcare, employment insurance  etc. Although this is not an exhaustive list on all the points raised by the parties regarding health and healthcare, we wanted to provide you with a starting point of navigating the 2021 elections as it relates to breast cancer patients.

Research Findings on Breast Cancer and the COVID-19 Virus

Breast cancer research is critical as it provides information on the detection, prognosis, treatment, and elimination of the disease. Researchers also continuously engage in studying breast cancer to help us better understand risks associated with breast cancer as well as how breast cancer interferes with other diseases and aspects of life.  

Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer During a Pandemic

My name is Katharina and I was diagnosed with stage 2a breast cancer in March 2020 just when the pandemic was starting. I was 25 years old at the time. I had to go through testing and treatment alone without any support person by my side.

Feeling the Fear and Releasing It

Do you ever think that you have another tumour? I don’t mean a recurrence with a breast cancer lesion, but a secondary cancer. And if you do, do these dark thoughts catch you by surprise in random pockets of moments, like when you feel an ache in your shoulder, or a knotted muscle along your spine, or when you take a deep breath and experience a sharpness of pain before you fully exhale? When this happens, do you immediately think, “fuck, I have a tumour,” and then have to talk yourself down from this mental, paranoid ledge? I do.

Questions and Experts Session Guide: A Surgical Oncologist Answers Questions about Breast Cancer Surgery

In today’s post, we provide the questions that were sent in and asked during the live session of our Questions and Experts session held in May 2021. In this session, Dr. Mark Basik, MD, FRCPC, a Medical Oncologist, answered questions about breast cancer surgery. In the parentheses, you’ll find the timestamp of where to find the question in the on-demand video.

Reading Research: 4 Things to Pay Attention to When Reading Breast Cancer Journal Articles

Breast cancer research continues to show promising results and advances in the detection and treatment of the disease. More and more, work is being done in this area and studies provide hope to those diagnosed and living with breast cancer. With article headings boasting about new, better, and less invasive ways to treat breast cancer, it is important to understand the actual findings of the study and not get caught up in exciting headlines and summaries. In other cases, you may come across the results of a study from a news article or elsewhere online.

Considerations for Nipple Sparing Mastectomy

Nipple Sparing Mastectomy (NSM) is a surgery performed on individuals removing their breast due to breast cancer or as a risk reduction method to prevent breast cancer. During this procedure, a small cut is made in the breast and the entire breast glandular tissue is removed from underneath the skin and nipple, leaving them intact. Breast reconstruction, using either an implant or natural tissue, is then performed at the same time. NSM is a procedure that attempts to balance the preservation of the breast area with an effective and successful breast cancer treatment.

Questions and Experts Session Guide: A Medical Oncologist Answers Questions about HR-Positive Breast Cancer

In today’s post, we provide the questions that were sent in and asked during the live session of our Questions and Experts session held in April 2021. In this session, Dr. Sandeep Sehdev, MD, FRCPC, a Medical Oncologist, answered questions about HR-positive breast cancer. In the parentheses, you’ll find the timestamp of where to find the question in the on-demand video.

You Get to Choose the Love You Surround Yourself With

I lost my cat, Trixie-Belle. She died from a squamous cell carcinoma, an aggressive type of mouth cancer, one week before the winter holidays last year. There was nothing my veterinarian could do to save her. She simply woke up one morning with a spot on the roof of her mouth and then, after performing every possible examination and a round of drugs, she was gone.

CBCN's Digital Storytelling and Advocacy Toolkit: Using Personal Storytelling for Advocacy

While there have been many advances made in the diagnosing, treatment and management of breast cancer, individuals diagnosed with or living with breast cancer still face issues that are not yet being addressed by the organizations and government bodies that serve them. In addition to this, the public is generally not aware of the day-to-day impacts of a breast cancer diagnosis on individuals and their families.

Questions and Experts Session Guide: A Medical Oncologist Answers Questions about HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

In today’s post, we provide the questions that were sent in and asked during the live session of our Questions and Experts session held in April 2021. In this session, Dr. Karen Gelmon, MD, FRCPC, a Medical Oncologist, answered questions about HER2-positive breast cancer. In the parentheses, you’ll find the timestamp of where to find the question in the on-demand video.

Genetic Counselling Q&A

A genetic counsellor is a health care professional with specialized education, training, and experience in medical genetics and counselling. Genetic counsellors work with both individuals and families that have a medical, family history, or potential risk for an inherited condition. The role of a genetic counsellor is to identify families at risk for genetic conditions, provide information and supportive counselling, coordinate and review testing options, and connect patients/families with appropriate community resources.

Bringing Awareness and Motivation to Exercise

It is a well-known fact that exercise has been proven to help with cancer-related fatigue, helping to manage the weakness and pain experienced due to treatment and its side effects, as well as de-conditioning. When you’re in pain, tired and feeling ill, it can be challenging to find the motivation to prioritize activity, but several studies show that performing a combination of strength, aerobic and flexibility exercise can help curb the symptoms that hold back our quality of life.

Laboratory Blood Tests, Why So Many?

Throughout the course of a medical diagnosis, members of your health care team will order different laboratory blood tests. Many times, these laboratory blood tests will be repeated throughout the diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, and continuing care. Each medical diagnosis and treatment has specific factors that are required to be monitored. When it comes to the results of these tests and what counts are normal or not, it is important to know that “normal” ranges simply reflect average values in a population. It is common for some tests to be slightly outside of the “normal range” (low or high) without consequence and your clinicians can guide you with respect to their relevance.