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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

June 25, 2013: Remarkable New Report Reveals Unique Insight into the Perspectives of Canadian Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Accessibility and financial impact of treatment major factors affecting quality of life for survivors.

Ottawa, ON, June 25, 2013: According to a new report launched today by the Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) and Rethink Breast Cancer, Canadian women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer experience a significant impact on their quality of life and face severe restrictions in many aspects of their lives.

Metastatic Breast Cancer in Canada: The lived experience of patients and caregivers, is one of the first reports of its kind in Canada; highlighting the patient journey by examining the realities and lived experiences of metastatic breast cancer survivors and their caregivers. The report details the specific challenges associated with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis and emphasizes the impact on survivors’ quality of life, focusing on both the physical and psychosocial aspects of the disease. The report also explores the patient experience of such themes as the accessibility of treatment and support resources, access to new therapies and the financial burden associated with treatment costs.

Report Respondent: “I have been lucky to be living with stable metastatic breast cancer for nine years. As I continue to beat the odds for survival I find that there is a gap in supports available to meet my needs.”

The report aims to provide a first-hand account of metastatic breast cancer, a disease not frequently addressed outside the breast cancer community. Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread from the breast to different parts of the body, most commonly the bones, liver, lungs and brain. It is estimated that in 2013, 23,800 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, of whom approximately 10% will have an initial diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer and approximately 30% of women diagnosed initially with earlier stages of breast cancer will go on to develop metastatic breast cancer. Yet despite the large number of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer each year, there remains a persistent lack of awareness and understanding of the distinct challenges affecting metastatic breast cancer survivors.

“Access to the best care can make a significant difference in both the length of survival and quality of life while on treatments” said MJ DeCoteau, Founder and Executive Director of Rethink Breast Cancer. “We need increased access to new, innovative treatments for all metastatic patients as well as strategies and tools to meet their unique support needs. This report is a vital jumping off point for those interested in meeting their needs.”

“This compelling report aims to champion the perspectives and voices of metastatic breast cancer survivors as the first step towards combating the circle of silence that surrounds the issue of metastatic disease” said Cathy Ammendolea, Chair of CBCN. “This report provides a timely opportunity for government officials, healthcare providers and the general public to gain valuable insights into the challenges facing metastatic breast cancer patients in Canada,” she added.

About CBCN
CBCN is the leading national, survivor-directed breast cancer organization in Canada. CBCN exists to voice the concerns of breast cancer survivors and promote the best quality of care for all Canadians affected by breast cancer. We endeavour to focus national attention on critical breast cancer issues and ensure that the concerns and needs of breast cancer survivors are addressed by decision makers in research and health care policy.

About Rethink
Rethink is the first-ever, Canadian breast cancer charity to bring bold, relevant awareness to women in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s; foster a new generation of young and influential breast cancer supporters; infuse sass and style into the cause; and, most importantly, respond to the unique needs of young (or youngish) women going through it.


Note to Editor:
Copies of Metastatic Breast Cancer in Canada: The lived experience of patients and caregivers, are available here. For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact: Jenn McNeil at 613-230-3044

Canadian Breast Cancer Network Media Inquiries
Jenn McNeil 
613-230-3044 x224  

Rethink Breast Cancer Media Inquires 
Ashley Mac Isaac-Butler