Your surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments are finished. You think you should be celebrating your return to normal. But you don’t feel the same as you did before your cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer has changed you in many ways: physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Every year clinicians, researchers, patient advocates and industry members head to Texas to share the latest breakthroughs in breast cancer research. It’s a key conference to learn about new treatments or new standards of care for breast cancer patients. Here’s some of the highlights that have the most impact on patient care today:
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.
Febrile neutropenia, or FN, is a common and potentially serious side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
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.
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.
In August 2016, Erin Richard of Sydney, Nova Scotia was diagnosed with triple negative metastatic breast cancer. She was only 39 years old.
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.
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.
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.
If you have had surgery for breast cancer, you are at risk for lymphedema, a chronic swelling of the arm or another body part due to build-up of fluid. (This fluid, known as lymph, transports white blood cells and cellular debris throughout the body.) Removal of lymph nodes under the arm during breast cancer surgery or radiation therapy can cause a blockage in the lymphatic system, which causes lymphedema. It can develop shortly after your surgery or many years later.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?).