CBCN connects patients, caregivers, health care professionals, researchers, public health agencies and industry stakeholders to improve knowledge translation and promote optimal health outcomes for Canadians with breast cancer. We do this through the promotion of information sharing, education, and advocacy activities. As we look forward to the new year, we would also like to look back on 2022 and share what CBCN has achieved on behalf of Canadian breast cancer patients, their loved ones, and caregivers.
CBCN participated in the creation of focus groups dedicated to identifying the needs of diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, which affects 10-20% of the breast cancer population. This focus group assessment will lead to the creation of materials, resources, and supports for those people with needs specific to TNBC.
CBCN also created a survey to reach a wider audience of TNBC patients. With this input, actionable items and steps can be created in order to inform and target the specific needs of TNBC patients and their families, healthcare teams, and caregivers, while also raising awareness of TNBC in the public consciousness.
In 2022 we published 26 patient stories in Our Voices blog, including weekly submissions from writer and editor Adriana Ermter, and a guest post from author Anne Kristiansen. People wrote in about their experiences with topics such as diagnosis and treatment; support and self-esteem; surgeries and relationships. CBCN also contributed posts on knowledge and research-based topics such as mastectomy tattoos, genetic testing, clinical trials, nipple reconstruction, and more.
Our Financial Navigator database tool was updated with the following new programs to help breast cancer patients and their families ease the burden of costs associated with a breast cancer diagnosis:
- Pink Pearl Scholarship Program – Pink Pearl Canada.
- Air Daffodil – Canadian Cancer Society
- Extended Stay – Eastern Health
- Medical Transportation Assistance Program (MTAP) - Government of NL; Department of Health and Community Services
CBCN wants to ensure all Canadians have equitable access to breast cancer drug information. Our Medsearch digital database allows patients to access general information on breast cancer drugs in Canada including which provinces publicly fund them, where a drug is in the Health Canada approval process, if there is a manufacturer patient support program available, and drug information monographs. MedSearch was updated with the following information this year:
- Kanjinti, a biosimilar for trastuzumab, was added to MedSearch
- Tucatinib (Tukysa) is now pCODR approved
- Tucatinib (Tukysa) is now funded in Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was added to MedSearch for early stage TNBC.
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was added to MedSearch for Stage IV TNBC
- Sacituzumab govitecan (Trodelvy) was added to MedSearch
- Tucatinib (Tukysa) is now pCPA approved
- Entrectinib (Rozlytrek) was added to MedSearch
- Abemeciclib (Verzenio) for early-stage breast cancer was added to MedSearch
Health Technology Assessments
CBCN connected with breast cancer patients to provide their lived experience for our patient submissions to the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) for the following drugs:
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) early stage
- Entrectinib (Rozlytrek)
- Trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) metastatic stage
- Trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu)
- Abemaciclib (Verzenio)
- Olaparib (Lynparza)
- Trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) early stage
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) metastatic stage
CBCN hosted several focused patient education webinars with experts to help address the questions and concerns that breast cancer patients may have regarding certain treatment options, testing, and advancements in oncological care and research:
- Screening AFTER Breast Cancer
- Precision Oncology
- mBC Advancements in Care
- Genetic Testing
- Early-stage Advancements in Care
Questions and Experts
We added two more Questions & Experts videos to our series, where participants asked questions to experts in radiology, breast imaging, and genetic counselling. These videos join others in the series, which cover topics such as complementary therapies and breast surgery.
Through CBCN’s advocacy program, we connect with decision makers, industry stakeholders, and the public to help raise awareness around the needs of those affected by breast cancer and to inform policies that will improve the quality of life for patients. This year, we continued our efforts to connect patients with drug manufacturers to inform health outcomes and care, communicated with MPs, participated in a virtual lobby day for drug access and much more.
- Connected patients with stakeholders to promote mBC Time, a metastatic breast cancer awareness campaign
- Connected patients with Merck and Novartis to inform pharmacy on the safety and effectiveness of certain breast cancer drugs
- Connected patients with Merck for a triple negative breast cancer patient panel for Keytruda (pembrolizumab)
- Connected patients with industry partners to raise awareness ofHER2-positive breast cancer
- Connected patients with industry partners to raise awareness of care access for individuals with aggressive forms of breast cancer
General Education and Resources
Each year, CBCN puts together or updates educational resources for breast cancer patients. These can take the form of patient magazines, guides, and handbooks. Here are the print and digital resources we put together this year:
- Breast Cancer and You, 7th edition
- Newly Diagnosed, a print-only handbook designed specifically for individuals in Labrador City, NL, based on their unique needs post-diagnosis
- Tips, Advice, and Guidance for the Newly and Recently Diagnosed magazine
- Living in the Now, Looking to the Future: mBC & Clinical Trials magazine
Breast Cancer Connection is the CBCN’s podcast for patients and caregivers, in which we host experts who break down complex topics with meaningful discussions in easy-to-understand terms. We’ve added three more episodes this year on clinical trials, advocacy, and testing:
- Clinical Trials 101: What They Are, and What to Consider
- Having a Say: How to Navigate Challenges & Barriers in Breast Cancer Care
- Understanding Testing in Breast Cancer: Genetic, Genomic, & Biomarkers Explained
CBCN's Advocacy Guides are short booklets that take a deep dive into a specific topic as a means to provide patients with the knowledge and tools to become part of their breast cancer care team. In 2022, we looked at follow-up screening for individuals who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer:
In order to continue providing the most current information and resources available to the breast cancer community, it is important that we stay on top of the latest news, advancements, and research in oncology. This year, CBCN attended or presented, either virtually or in-person, at the following conferences:
- The Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists (CAMO) Annual Meeting
- Breast Cancer education webinar with Sunnybrook Hospital
- Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC) conference
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) symposium
- Clinical Trials Ontario
- Clinical Trials Conference
- Newfoundland Breast Cancer Retreat
- The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)
- The International Experience Exchange with Patient Organisations (IEEPO)
- Nova Scotia Breast Cancer Retreat
- San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)