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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

Education

Our Voices Blog


Tag : mastectomy

Considering a Mastectomy Tattoo? Here’s What You Need to Know

Following breast cancer surgery, there are a variety of options available to you. You may choose to live flat, have breast reconstruction, get implants, or use breast prostheses. Another option that you may have not considered or known about are mastectomy tattoos. Women who have gotten mastectomy tattoos following their breast cancer treatment have given a variety of reasons for getting them, including that they are a confidence boost following treatment, to cover scars, to create something beautiful, and to mark what they’ve been through.

A Quick Guide to Nipple Reconstruction

During a mastectomy or double mastectomy, the nipple is usually removed. One option to remedy this is to have nipple-sparing mastectomy. However, if you are not a candidate for this, you may want to look into whether getting your nipple reconstructed is more ideal for your situation.

My Genetic Test Results Changed my Treatment Plans

Stacy Zelazny lives in a tiny town in Ontario, literally, she resides in a little-known place called Tiny, Ontario. Stacy describes herself as a mom of two amazing girls who is married to her best friend and winning the biggest fight of her life.

The Four Stages of My Stage Four MBC

One night in July 2015, I went to sleep, and everything was fine. When I woke up, it was obvious that everything was not fine. My left breast was swollen, inflamed and painful. I was shocked and worried but tried not to overreact. Then I started making excuses. Maybe my period was coming. Maybe it was cellulitis. Maybe it was a clogged milk duct. Maybe it was. Maybe it. Maybe …

“It’s probably nothing.”: Getting Breast Cancer in My 30’s

It all started in July 2021. A drop of bloody nipple discharge led me down the rabbit hole of Google and WebMD which, for once, was actually reassuring - it’s usually harmless. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor the following day who shared the same sentiment – it is probably nothing, but I will refer you to a breast clinic just in case. As a 30-year-old with no family history of breast cancer and a couple of benign fibroadenomas, I wasn’t too worried, and neither was my Surgical Oncologist initially; the odds were in my favour, it was likely benign. And so I attended my ultrasound, mammogram, and biopsy appointments – each time observing how the other women in the waiting room were decades older than me.

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.

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.

Feeling Pain and Sensations in the Area of Your Removed Breast? You May be Experiencing Phantom Breast Syndrome

Some breast cancer patients who had a mastectomy have reported feeling painful and non-painful sensations in the area of the breast that was removed. This condition, known as phantom breast syndrome (PBS), usually start in the first year after a mastectomy. Sensations due to PBS usually occur in the chest, armpit, surgical scar, and inner arm and last far beyond the expected time for post-surgical pain. The prevalence of PBS is not exactly known, most likely due to a lack of reporting as patients either feel like it is not that big of a deal or because they find it hard to describe. PBS has been reported to affect anywhere between 4% to 56% patients; other studies report that it affects anywhere between 10% to 55% of women.

Retaining control of your medical record, remaining hopeful and persevering

I am a 43-year-old mother of two amazing children, I have been in love with my wonderful Martin for 20 years now and I am a research professional in the health sector. Until August 2018, I was considered a breast cancer survivor. My cancer had been treated in the best way possible. My son was not yet one year old at the time (in 2012). I went through chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, a mastectomy and, finally, a breast reconstruction.

Reducing the risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer: one woman’s story

In October 2013, Allegra Kawa of Edmonton had surgery to remove both her breasts.  She’s also considering surgery to remove her ovaries and uterus.

A Palpable Mass

So, we could begin like all meeting group sessions do:

— Hi, hello. My name is Rebecca, I'm 37 and I have breast cancer.

— Hello Rebecca.

We could. Yeah.

Post-surgery tips from women who’ve been there

Simply put, surgery is awful. Your body is recovering from some major trauma. And if you were feeling rather healthy before surgery, afterwards can feel a bit like a train wreck. We asked women for their tips on making recovery a little more bearable.

My beautiful baby saved my life

I remember sitting in the small room waiting for the doctor to come in.  I was nervous but didn’t think anything was wrong.  The doctor came in and asked how I was.  I gave my usual cheery response that everything was good but added that “it depended on what he was going to tell me…ha ha ha”.  I laughed but my jovial manner quickly subsided when my doctor sat down and the words “it’s not good” came out.  My heart dropped.  He then said, “It’s cancer”.  My heart dropped again.

Looking on the bright side

In June 2015, I moved to London, Ontario and was recovering from a rather emotional and difficult time, having divorced in June 2014.  I had moved from Sault Ste. Marie to be closer to my daughter with her husband and very young children.  I would be seeing the rest of my family less often now – my parents, my two sisters, my daughter and her husband, and another granddaughter. and two step grandchildren.

Living flat is freedom

My name is Alison Thompson and I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.  To give you some background, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 15 years ago.  Her cancer was an aggressive form. It spread to her spine and brain, and she passed away about three years after the initial diagnosis. 

Finding Harmony after Breast Reconstruction

I was forty years old, running a successful business, comfortable in my finances, and feeling ready to settle down and start a family. Suddenly, a breast cancer diagnosis upended my sense of contentment and sent me on a journey of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, a preventative double mastectomy, and, ultimately, reconstructive surgery.

SurgeryGuide is much-needed

For Andrea Sveinbjornson of Regina, the Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s new SurgeryGuide is an invaluable tool, one that she wishes she had when she had to make decisions about breast surgery in 2016.

Living with inflammatory breast cancer

In August 2014 I found a lump in my left breast. This is unusual for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare and very aggressive cancer where cancer blocks the lymph vessels.

SurgeryGuide: Helping you understand your surgical options

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.

The innocence of a toddler and the reality of cancer

It was just another typical morning in our house, trying to get my son fed and dressed before I take him to daycare. As I am multitasking, getting myself dressed and making sure my son is actually brushing his teeth, I notice he’s watching me. He’s still trying to process those two large scars across my chest. The incisions are still fresh and slowly healing and turning to scars. Scars that represent where my breasts once were but now is just an empty space. He finally pipes up. “When are your boobies going to grow back, Mommy?” He asks so innocently.