It’s funny how breast cancer changed the way I feel about myself and my life. Not in a ha-ha sense, although trust me, I would like to laugh more. And not in a questioning kind of way either, although I did torture myself during the first couple of weeks after my diagnosis, looking for the answer to explain why I had breast cancer. As far as I was concerned it was because I never wore sunscreen as a kid; I drank and smoked my way through my twenties; worked 80-hour, ladder-climbing work weeks in my thirties and went through a heartbreaking divorce that left me feeling like road kill in my forties. Except that it wasn’t.
Planning a funeral, especially if it’s your own, might be one of the most painful and challenging tasks that any of us will have to complete. The very idea can be overwhelming, anxiety causing and heartbreaking to even think about. That being said, so many people share that while they dreaded the idea of having to plan their own funeral, they often experienced a tremendous sense of peace and the feeling of having a huge weight lifted off their shoulders after completing this process. Since the period after the death of a loved one is incredibly distressing to families, pre-planning a funeral can relieve them of some of the stress and can also give you peace of mind that your wishes are being carried out.
Scanxiety may not officially be a real word, but the feelings it brings about are real. Very Well Health defines scanxiety as the term used to “describe the anxiety people with cancer feel while waiting for scans”. Regardless of whether the scans are for diagnostic purposes, monitoring treatment, checking recurrence or as a check-up, individuals can experience apprehension before, during, and while waiting for the results of their scans. The apprehension and fear that is felt can range from feeling claustrophobic in the scan machine to imagining the worst-case scenario of the scan results. Many people experience scanxiety so it is important to learn coping techniques that help eliminate the anxiety.
Breast cancer is often associated with older women. The latest statistics on breast cancer show that 83% of breast cancer cases occur in women over 50 years old. In fact, age is a risk factor of developing breast cancer, with ones risk increasing, the older they get. The rates of breast cancer increase after 40 years old and peak at 70 years old.
Breastfeeding has been linked to a few health benefits such as its ability to reduce the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. This may be because of reduced exposure to estrogen as well as the shedding of breast tissue. But what happens when breastfeeding cannot reduce your risk of breast cancer because you have already been diagnosed? While breastfeeding comes with its own challenges, having a newborn while dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis comes with its own unique complications. One of these is knowing whether you can breastfeed your child and how to go about it.
I hope I can write this column without crying. Or at least if I do get emotional, that I won’t need to stop a million times while I wait for the sobbing to ease up so that I can see clearly enough to continue typing. And no, I’m not being dramatic.
CBCN produces curated magazines that focus on topics that are relevant to the breast cancer community. These magazines provide patients with an easy-to-access method of getting information on various breast-cancer-related topics. The articles featured in our magazine are pulled from Our Voices blog and are created so that breast cancer patients can access certain themes/topics in one place.
I’m writing this as a PSA for all women. We’re always told to check for lumps and to get mammograms. However, Paget’s disease of the breast is a breast cancer that until October, I had never heard about.
Cancer does not discriminate. It's an often-repeated phrase, used to highlight the prevalence of cancer. The idea behind it is that whether you are young, old, poor, rich, Black, White, we all face an equal risk of being diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, like many other aspects of our society, cancer does in fact discriminate. Below we provide 10 research findings on breast cancer specifically that highlight the unequal nature of a breast cancer diagnosis. These studies highlight that breast cancer affects social groups differently and while some of this difference is due to the insidious nature of cancer itself, some of these findings are due to systemic and societal inequalities that become highlighted when we look at health.
Breast cancer made my hair thicker. And wavy-er. Not right away obviously. It’s not like it was a special prize I was gifted with to make up for the shock and fear of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Indigenous Traditional Healing is a holistic practice that aims to treat imbalances in a person’s body, mind, emotions, and spirit together.These imbalances are thought to be the cause of illness and to result from ignoring sacred, natural laws. Tradition healing practices are distinct and culturally specific to the people who are practicing them. In Canada, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis view health as a balance of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual elements. These four elements can be impacted by the individual, their family, their community and the environment. For example, connection to the land is an important aspect of healing for the Inuit. Being out on the land and away from one’s community can bring calmness to the body and mind by removing outside influences and in turn promote personal well-being.
The risk of a COVID-19 diagnosis for breast cancer patients is still not completely known. Studies have come that show that cancer patients are more at risk of adverse effects if they develop COVID-19. However, a few studies state that compared to other cancer patients, breast cancer patients are at a lower risk of serious illness. The stage of breast cancer also seems to play a role in one’s risk level.
As with most other events planned for this year, the ASCO 2020 Conference was rescheduled as a virtual event, originally set to be held in Chicago from May 29th to 31st. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conference is a key research conference that brings together clinicians, researchers, and patient advocates from around the world. The conference included over 5,000 abstracts, posters, slides and videos, a day of video broadcasts and around 147 virtual exhibits. While we weren’t able to come together in person this year, ASCO successfully hosted a virtual conference that shared an incredible amount of research that’s relevant to breast cancer patients. Below are some of the highlights.
I would have never thought that I would be telling my story to a large group of people but today I consider it an honour.
Individuals diagnosed with cancer have been identified as being at a high-risk of getting seriously ill if they get COVID-19. Data from various studies show that the type of cancer, the stage, the person’s age, health, and other factors contribute to how high-risk a patient may be. In addition to this, the type of treatment a person is receiving and how long their last treatment was, can all impact their outcome. At the same time, a few studies have shown that breast cancer patients fare better, compared to patients with other types of cancers.
In part 1 of our clinical trials series, we explained that clinical trials allow doctors and researchers to test treatments, medical procedures and therapies for various diseases and conditions. In the second part of the series, we debunked 7 common myths on clinical trials. In both parts, we focused on the type of clinical trials most people think of when they hear clinical trials, studies involving drugs. However, clinical trials can study more than just drug treatments or surgeries. According to Clinical Trials Ontario, they can also be conducted to “test devices, genetic therapies, natural health products, psychotherapies, lifestyle and preventive care interventions, and many other things.”
I could cry writing this. Or maybe screaming for five minutes into a pillow so my neighbours don’t hear me would feel better. The walls in my condo aren’t that thick. Either way, my reality’s not changing any time soon. And by reality, I mean my body and the extra weight it has been lugging around since I started taking Tamoxifen a year ago.
The feeling appears on the heels of a breast cancer diagnosis so quickly I think the doctor delivering the “It is cancer” news should in the same breath say, “For the rest of your life, prepare to surrender any assumptions that you ever held even a modicum of control over your health, you foolish woman.” Certain you’ll never regain your equilibrium, you search desperately for the first thing that hints even slightly as an option to ground and balance you. For many women, that “first thing” is food. Unhealthy, unsustainable dieting habits all start somewhere and unfortunately, fad diets constantly cycle through the breast cancer community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly concerning and challenging for many cancer patients and their families. As you’ve most likely heard by now, cancer patients and survivors may be at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 because cancer and cancer treatments can contribute to weakened immune systems. This has left many patients with questions on how best to navigate their cancer care, including whether it is safe to continue their treatment, will their health care be de-prioritized by the healthcare system and how they can reduce their risk of contracting the virus.
Women are multi-dimensional and getting a breast cancer diagnosis does not change that. It doesn’t stop mothers from being mothers, daughters from being daughters, sisters from being sisters, etc. While a breast cancer diagnosis may put a pause on things such as your job and careers, some of the multi-dimensional roles and responsibilities that women play in life continues. One of these roles is being a mother. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked breast cancer patients to share with us the age at which their children were, when they were diagnosed with breast cancer. We wanted to know how breast cancer impacted their life as a mother, and vice versa. Here are just some of their stories.