The Voice of Canadians With Breast Cancer

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Our Voices Blog


Contributor : CBCN Team

Improving your body image after your mastectomy

Struggling with body image is an age-old tradition for women. We can be so critical in how we see ourselves. Too fat, too skinny, bad skin, bad hair…every woman has one aspect of their bodies that they do not like or wish they could change. Add getting breast cancer to the mix and all those insecurities get amplified.

Metastatic patient faces a roller coaster of emotions

For Naomi Pickersgill, living with metastatic breast cancer and being confronted with her own mortality has been a “roller coaster of emotions.”

9 self-care tips for getting through radiation

If you are receiving radiation, you’ll know that there are often side effects that range from mildly annoying to severely debilitating. The self-care plan outlined by your medical team can help reduce the redness, pain, and irritation that come with radiation dermatitis.

Shades of Grey - Patient Advocacy with Integrity

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.

The Who, What, Why of Mindfulness Exercises for Women with Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC)

Many women are living longer with ABC.  Finding ways to cope with cancer’s various stresses becomes critical to leading satisfying longer lives. 

Living with mbc and learning to celebrate each day

Adriana Capozzi of Bradford, Ontario, was diagnosed in October 2014 with HER2-positive, Stage III breast cancer.  She received four months of chemotherapy and one year of Herceptin, along with a bilateral mastectomy and 25 rounds of radiation.

Patients are having their say in research priorities for metastatic breast cancer

The Canadian Metastatic Breast Cancer Priority Setting Partnership is a group of physicians, patients, and patient family members with the goal of identifying priorities in research by the people most affected by the disease. 

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle

I have never been a fan of roller coasters, too much up and down, made me feel sick.  Ironically, my life seems to have become a gigantic roller coaster ride! 

Metastatic breast cancer’s silver lining

For Shelley Scott of Winnipeg, a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis in November 2016 had a silver lining.

“It helped me appreciate the moments of my life rather than worrying about what might be, which is kind of a gift,” she says.

She tells the story of two coworkers she knew who planned a big trip for the time when they both were retired.  They never made the trip because one of them died.

Metastatic breast cancer has made her a fighter

In August 2016, Erin Richard of Sydney, Nova Scotia was diagnosed with triple negative metastatic breast cancer.  She was only 39 years old.

In search of timely and equitable access to drugs

I learned about “timely and equitable access” to oncology drugs at the Canadian Breast Cancer Network's metastatic breast cancer advocacy training in 2013. I was the first in Canada prescribed Perjeta, days after Health Canada approved the drug. My oncologist shared exciting trial results about dual blockade (using two drugs simultaneously against breast cancer). The trastuzumab emtansine (TDM-1) trial had closed days earlier. Another combo was available but it was “back pocket.” The caveat was that it wasn’t funded but my extended health insurance benefits agreed to pay. On route to my first infusion, I penned a sign: BELIEVE. We did. I had dozens of liver and lymph mets and my liver was failing. After two rounds, I had normal liver enzymes and after three, normal tumour markers.

Fighting for life-saving metastatic drug access

I was born and raised in Southern Alberta and moved to Calgary to attend university and eventually raise my family here.  I am an active senior who enjoys singing with a Calgary performing group, travelling with my husband, watching sports and movies on TV, spending time with my two daughters, who both live in Calgary, keeping in touch with my granddaughter, who now lives in Victoria, and watching my grandson grow up and enjoy his activities.

My metastatic breast cancer has disappeared

On July 19, 2011, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. With a 10-month-old son, I was still glowing with the joy of motherhood—but when a lump that I had been attributing to breastfeeding challenges refused to go away, I decided to see my doctor.

Personalized medicine: A revolution in cancer treatment

The more researchers and doctors learn about cancer, the more they are beginning to understand that there isn’t one standard approach to treating it but many factors to consider to come up with the best treatment plan for each person. New research is adding to this knowledge and instead of treating a cancer based on its location in the body, clinicians are starting to personalize and improve treatments for individual patients based on genomics.

Facing triple positive breast cancer

My life changed forever once I received the phone call no one wants to get early one morning in March 2015. My surgeon was on the other line with the results from my recent biopsy. The lump that was supposed to be only a pesky cyst was indeed cancerous. The surgeon further explained my diagnosis. But the only thing I heard was that I had cancer. My world felt like it was spinning out of control.

What More Looks Like …

Looking back at the 4 years we have hosted our event, the Pink Ribbon Project (PRP) is always interesting, emotional and clarifying. We can see the things we have accomplished and learned but most importantly where we can grow in our work around breast cancer.

What is Breast Density and Why Does It Matter?

Roughly 40% of Canadian women, meaning about 3 million women, have what is known as “dense breasts.” Dense breasts are normal and common, but they also pose cancer risks and screening challenges. Breast density can have a significant impact on cancer detection and the treatment and prognosis of a diagnosed cancer. Many women in Canada are unaware of their breast density, impacting their screening and their ability to be their own breast health advocate. Why is knowing and understanding your breast density so important?

You Can’t Fix Breast Cancer But You Can Make it Better

On November 3, 2011, I received a phone call while waiting in line to pick up my sons, 2 and 4, from school. On the other end of the line was my wife’s GP advising me that Kate had a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. The ensuing months brought bewilderment, fear and anger. I struggled to find a way to express what was happening to our family and to provide care.

Helping to understand the barriers of returning to work after breast cancer

For some, returning to work marks an important milestone in moving forward after treatment. You’ve done it, made it through treatment and are on the other side! But returning to work comes with its challenges.

Cancer is her fourth major illness

When Kim Bulpitt was diagnosed in March 2016 at age 53 with breast cancer, it wasn’t her first experience with serious illness. The Kitchener, Ontario resident was previously diagnosed in 1979 with kidney disease, in 2008 with Parkinson’s disease, and in 2012 with osteoarthritis resulting in replacement of both knees in 2014.