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.
In part 1 of our blog series on clinical trials, we explained what clinical trials are, why you should participate in them and how to get more information about participating. You may now be familiar with clinical trials but still hesitant about enrolling in one because of certain concerns that you may have. These concerns are valid as many breast cancer patients have these same concerns. However, some of these concerns about clinical trials are ill-informed. In part 2 of our blog series on clinical trials, we debunk some of the most common myths surrounding clinical trials. We hope that this will provide you with some fact-based information to make a more informed decision about whether or not clinical trials are right for you.
Two years ago, I had the sincere pleasure of attending my first oncology nutrition symposium, a biennial event hosted by the Oncology Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition science ruled at this event, and “voodoo nutrition” based on conjecture, personal opinion, philosophies, and miracle cures was denied a seat at the table.
Like tai chi and qigong, acupuncture is another form of traditional Chinese medicine that has become a popular therapy used in the cancer community for help with side effects.
Receiving a life-limiting or terminal diagnosis brings with it a lot of difficult decisions that a person never wants to be in the position to make. The hardest of those is choosing to end treatment. Coming to terms with that reality and how it can affect a person’s family is not easy. Some people may consider the option of medical assistance in death. Today we are discussing this relatively new law and how it works in Canada.
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.
Every year on February 4th, World Cancer Day, we get the opportunity to reflect on the work we’re doing to help reduce the impact of cancer. World Cancer Day, led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), has an action packed slogan: I Am and I Will. They’ve developed a set of key issues that affects us all. Here’s how CBCN is working to reduce the affects of cancer for Canadians based on these key issues:
When people think of therapy the most common therapy session that comes to mind probably includes a person sitting across from or lying down beside a therapist and talking about their feelings. But what if you can never quite find the right words to say to express yourself or talking through what you are feeling doesn’t seem to be helping? The truth is therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. People are looking for and creating new ways to help cope with the stresses in their lives.
The topics of financial planning and preparing your will can be complicated and distressing especially at a time when you’d rather focus on your family and your wellbeing. As difficult as tackling these tasks may be, many people describe feeling relieved when they have their financial affairs in order and feel that they can more fully enjoy time with loved ones without worrying about the to-do list in the back of their minds. Today we are breaking down many of the confusing terms that come up when preparing a will and your finances for end-of-life.
Life is about change and every change brings loss with it. Whenever we lose something or someone that we value, we grieve. We grieve for the past – for how things were—and we may not be able to imagine our future. Although it may not be welcome, grief can help us to find ways to live with -- and even grow from -- our losses.
CBCN had the opportunity to join researchers, clinicians, manufacturers and other patients at this annual European conference to learn the latest insights and findings in cancer research. Here’s the research that we found most interesting as breast cancer patients:
Did you know that accessing treatments for stage IV metastatic breast cancer (mBC) is not universal across Canada? We live in a country that promotes universal health care to all but accessing cancer treatment varies by each province.
Timely access to medications is a key concern for any breast cancer patient, but drug access in Canada has long been a minefield to navigate. Inequitable access to medications across provinces, drug shortages and long wait times to access new treatments are just some of the issues patients and their families routinely encounter in their quest for treatment. National Pharmacare-a plan to reimburse prescription medications in a similar fashion as our healthcare system-has often been proposed as a solution to many of the drug access issues that Canadians currently experience. While Pharmacare has been debated nationally for a long time, it is only recently that the idea has gained real traction and momentum.
We can all agree that when it comes to making end of life decisions, comfort is one of the most important considerations. Comfort can mean different things to everyone. Staying at home for as long as possible or until death may be preferred by some people while others may feel more comfortable in a facility. If you’re unsure of what will make you most comfortable here are some things to consider.
One of the common concerns we hear from patients and survivors is about travelling after a breast cancer diagnosis. So often, insurance companies will put strict limitations on policies for people with pre-existing conditions. And for those living with metastatic breast cancer, finding coverage can be next to impossible.
The thing to know about palliative care is that you don’t actually need to be at end of life to get the benefits of it. Palliative care is about getting the best quality of life while living with a life-limiting diagnosis. Symptom management and maintaining your emotional well-being are key aspects in palliative care treatment.
You have the stress of a breast cancer diagnosis, and now your insurance company has denied your claim. Hang in there: you don’t have to accept the insurance company’s initial decision as the final word. You can appeal your denied claim by following these seven steps.
On June 12th, the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare released their final report looking at the implementation of a national program to address the inequities that Canadians currently face when it comes to drug access. It outlines 60 recommendations, steps to implementation and key details on things like co-pay, budget costs, strategy for rare diseases, and impacts on patients and providers. Below, we’ve summarized these key details for you to better understand how this new plan for pharmacare would impact you and your family.