Point of view: You’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and you’re overwhelmed, confused, scared, and more. You are still having a hard time accepting being diagnosed and don’t know where to start in finding out more medical information about your diagnosis as well as trying to prepare yourself emotionally. While you’ve probably received some type of handout from you doctor, there’s still more information that you need to wrap your head about this change in your life. You’ve also likely searched Google for non-medical information but you are having a hard time finding this information.
That’s where this post comes into play. Broken down into a part 1 and 2, we’ve created it to provide you with credible and insider information, beyond the basic medical information that is easily accessible, to help you face your diagnosis. We provide a range of information: medical, psychosocial, financial, physical, and more, as a breast cancer diagnosis impacts all these, and more. Part 1 highlights resources put together by CBCN and focuses on educational and advocacy-based resources. Part 2 is comprised of the lived experiences of other breast cancer and is more concerned with practical tips and personal advice.
Understanding your diagnosis
Whether this is your first breast cancer diagnosis or you’ve had breast cancer before, Metastatic Breast Cancer Handbook: A guide for individuals living with stage IV breast cancer offers a deeper look at how metastatic breast cancer affects your daily life and ways to help manage the changes that it brings.
Breast Cancer and You: A guide for women living with breast cancer serves as a guide to provide information about breast cancer. This latest edition includes useful information on breast cancer staging, diagnostic tests, recommended treatments for each cancer stage, possible side effects of treatment and their management, breast reconstruction options, and more.
Never Too Young: Psychosocial Information and Support for Young Women with Breast Cancer is a handbook for young women with breast cancer. It deals with the psychosocial aspects of the illness; that is, the interaction between social and psychological factors related to breast cancer. There are chapters on such topics as mental health, partners, children, work, fertility, and a whole host of other important issues.
Breast cancer and bone health: What you need to know will help you understand why focusing on bone health is important now that you have had a breast cancer diagnosis. It will introduce you to the types of bone loss that can accompany your cancer, the tests your doctor may perform to check the health of your bones, and some of the ways you can take care of your bones.
Breast Cancer Connection is an informative, conversation-based podcast designed for patients and caregivers alike, breaking down complex terms and topics through meaningful discussion with expert voices. In the first episode, Breast Cancer Stages and Types Explained, Dr. Sandeep Sehdev explains the terminology behind stages and types of breast cancer and discusses the importance of understanding what they mean for both doctors and patients.
Finding financial and drug access assistance
Financial concerns can arise at many points in the cancer journey. The types of concerns you may have will depend on your personal situation, the timing of your diagnosis, and the length of your treatment plan. FinancialNavigator can help you find sources of financial assistance to offset the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis, should you find yourself in such a need. There are, however, some common challenges that occur with cancer patients. Our Financial Support Resources webpage provides planning tips, as well as information on legal documents, Medicare, taxes, and more.
MedSearch helps patients and caregivers easily find information about what breast cancer drugs are publicly funded in each province and territory across Canada, including their status within the drug approval process. This tool provides general information about the various treatments for breast cancer. It also directs patients to information about additional funding sources for drugs that aren’t currently listed on public formularies.
Advocating for yourself
Advocacy is working to provide support for a cause, policy, or action. Advocacy is also the pursuit of influencing outcomes. Everyone has the ability to advocate on his or her own behalf or on behalf of others. CBCN's Advocacy Guides are short booklets that take a deep dive into a specific topic as a means to provide you with the knowledge and tools to become part of your breast cancer care team. We’ve also written two blogposts, Why It’s Important to Be Your Own Advocate and Getting a Second Opinion in our Public Health System, intended to provide you with concrete steps on self-advocacy.
Preparing for treatment
Preparing for a specialized medical appointment can be a daunting task for some. You may encounter many questions that you would like to address, ask about your possible diagnosis, understand your treatment plan, ask about other options, and so forth. What You Can Do to Prepare for Your Medical Appointment is a checklist that provides steps and tips to prepare for your medical appointment. While you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may require follow-up scans which comes with its own set of anxiety, often referred to as ‘scanxiety’. Coping With Scanxiety provides ways to deal with this very real phenomenon.
If you’ve been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, you will most likely require breast surgery. SurgeryGuide is designed as decision aid meant to navigate you through the various surgery and post-surgery options and provide you with the information that you need to make a decision with your doctor.