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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer


Our Voices Blog

For the Newly Diagnosed: Part 2

A cancer diagnosis comes with many questions. While some of those questions can be answered by your healthcare team, many others cannot. That’s why we have put together this “For the Newly Diagnosed’ two-part series; to help patients who have been newly and recently diagnosed get the answers to their most pressing questions that may not be easily answerable. This series is also meant to help patients get ready for and be aware of challenges they may face in the upcoming months.

In part 1, we highlighted CBCN resources that focus on educational and advocacy. While part 1 touches on many important aspects of a breast cancer diagnosis, it does not speak to everything. Your medical team and online or in-print educational resources cannot speak to what to expect emotionally and mentally. They cannot give you tips and advice that only someone who has experienced or is experiencing breast cancer can. So, for part 2, we provide and highlight CBCN-shared resources that have been written or informed by those who have been there. What we share below are just some of the blogposts written by patients that help navigate recently diagnosed individuals. You can visit the stories category of Our Voices to read all patient stories that discuss a variety of topics. We also created the Canadian Breast Cancer Patient Network, a private Facebook group that provides breast cancer patients, past and present with a safe space for discussions.

Pre- and post-surgery

Three Things to Know Before Your Lumpectomy by Adriana Ermter
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was tossed into a sea of medical terminology without a life jacket. Fortunately, I’m a pretty good swimmer. I also ask a lot of questions to get the information I need, plus I know how to research and fact-check credible sources online. Continue reading

Post-surgery Tips from Women Who’ve Been There
Simply put, surgery is awful. Your body is recovering from some major trauma. And if you were feeling rather healthy before surgery, afterwards can feel a bit like a train wreck. We asked women for their tips on making recovery a little more bearable. Continue reading

Eight Items That Helped Me Recover from Breast Cancer Surgery by Adriana Ermter
The day my doctor told me I had breast cancer was the same day I met my surgeon and was scheduled for a partial mastectomy (otherwise known as a lumpectomy), breast-conserving surgery. Continue reading

Treatment and clinical trials

Radiation Prep. Three Tips You Need to Help You Feel in Control and to Support Yourself by Adriana Ermter
Having radiation treatment is something you can never truly be emotionally ready for. At least I wasn’t. The doctors shared the basic need-to-know information, but the rest felt vague, unknown and definitely out of my control. Continue reading

What You Need to Know: Accessing Clinical Trials Out of Province and Out of Country by Heather Douglas
I have been living with metastatic breast cancer for over eight years. While I am usually averse to using battle analogies for living with and dying from cancer, finding the best care has required a fight, considerable perseverance, and hard work. Fortunately, my ER+/PR+ tumours (pleura/liver/lymph) have responded well, but not great, to hormonal therapies.  I’m onto my seventh line of treatment. Over the past three years, I have participated in three clinical trials. Continue reading

Practical tips, patient support, and self-advocacy

Sexual Health and Intimacy Tips for Breast Cancer Patients by Jennifer King
Sex may be something that isn’t frequently discussed by doctors or oncologists or even friends, but the sexual changes and adjustments you go through following a breast cancer diagnosis can be enormous for you and your partner, depending on how big a part it was in your life before diagnosis and treatments. Personally, I found that sex was the last thing on my mind as I struggled with the new realities of breast cancer and the effects of the treatments. Continue reading

Self-Advocacy Tips: For Patients, From Patients
Last year, we wrote a blogpost on the importance of advocating for yourself as someone with breast cancer. In this blogpost, we revisit the tips we shared last year, this time from the perspective and with the voice of breast cancer patients. Continue reading

Stay Calm and Mentally Strong: Three Ways to Motivate, Inspire and Empower Yourself for Optimum Health by Adriana Ermter
The Beginning: Get up, find a lump, feel confused, panic inside, see the doctor, see a specialist, get a mammogram, see an oncologist, have an ultrasound, get an MRI, biopsy the lump, do it all over again and again and again, receive a breast cancer diagnosis, feel in shock, go home, make a plan, fall into bed and don’t fall asleep. Continue reading

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