History of CBCN
In 1992 the House of Commons published a report entitled Breast Cancer: Unanswered Questions, and one of its recommendations resulted in the National Forum on Breast Cancer, which was held in Montreal in November 1993. One of the recommendations contained in the final report of the National Forum on Breast Cancer called for the development of a survivor-directed, national network of organizations and individuals to provide a link and a voice for members of the breast cancer community. An interim planning committee of nine survivors from across Canada volunteered to begin the formation of a national network to represent the interests of those Canadians and their families who live with breast cancer.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) was officially incorporated and registered as a charitable organization in November 1994. Health Canada then sponsored a seminar to help the Network build skills and promote organizational development. Forty-three participants representing Canada’s geographic regions and ethnic make-up attended, and a 17-member Steering Committee was established.
Early in 1995, CBCN, in partnership with Health Canada, sponsored regional meetings in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. In total, 200 delegates met to discuss the current services and the persistent gaps in breast cancer education, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Delegates recommended that the Canadian Breast Cancer Network act as a link between breast cancer groups across Canada to broaden their resources, provide educational activities, and share information.
In 1997, CBCN hired an Executive Director and opened its national office in Ottawa. Since then CBCN has published several reports highlighting key breast cancer issues, including access to treatment for Canadians with metastatic breast cancer, breast cancer wait times in Canada, the economic impact of breast cancer, the needs of young women, and the perspectives of rural women. These reports have been key in improving access to services and care for Canadians affected by breast cancer.
CBCN has also hosted a variety of in-person meetings for breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families to increase their knowledge and information about the disease and how to access the treatments they need and connect with a supportive community. CBCN regularly hosts online webinars on a variety of key topics of interest and publishes monthly e-newsletters and a semi-annual magazine to help address the informational and educational needs of the breast cancer community in Canada. CBCN continues to work with decision makers to provide critical input to health approval bodies and to influence policy to promote a patient-focused approach.