Living through breast cancer is a challenging journey. You will be searching for answers and information about the disease and its treatment; trying to understand how to live positively, and simply reckoning with what your future may look like.
I am from a long line of breast cancer survivors, so when I was diagnosed in 2008 with breast cancer, I was not in the least surprised. I was just 50, my twin sister and I celebrated that milestone in February 2007. By December of that year, I knew something was wrong.I had a mammogram at Sunnybrook that fall, in October I believe, and received “all clear”. Both the mammogram and the vigorous breast examination at Sunnybrook failed to detect an exceedingly small tumour situated close to my left armpit and sitting deep on a ligament. It was undetectable at that time. Later that fall, I noticed a puckering in my breast when I was drying my lower body, just out of a shower at my gym. I knew instantly what it was, so I booked an appointment with my doctor at the high-risk breast screening centre at the Odette Centre.
The goal of World Lymphedema Day is to make cures for lymphedema and lymphatic diseases a global priority. It is an annual awareness event with participation in many countries around the world. The Lymphedema Association of Ontario (LAO) has committed to improving the lives of people living with lymphedema since it began in 1996 and has become a more dynamic organization in the last year. World Lymphedema Day offers us an opportunity to continue our advocacy and awareness work. LAO partners with hospitals, our professional members, and patients to bring attention to lymphedema in Ontario.
Lymphedema is abnormal swelling of the arms, hands, breast, or torso. Breast cancer-related lymphedema generally occurs when the lymph nodes or the lymphatic vessels are damaged or removed following breast cancer treatment. When this happens, blockage in the lymphatic system prevents lymph fluid from properly draining which is what leads to the swelling.
It’s now 2020! How strange does that sound? 2019 was a busy and impactful year at CBCN. So, we thought we’d look back and see what blogs you, our readers, found to be the most valuable. Here’s the top 10 list of most read blogs on CBCN’s Our Voices.
I remember the shock I experienced when I learned about lymphedema, a chronic condition with no cure that I would be dealing with the rest of my life. I was at a high risk for it as I had stage III Inflammatory Breast Cancer and I had all lymph nodes removed from my left arm pit. Twenty-five rounds of radiation to my chest and upper back also put me at a greater risk.
Rehabilitation is an important aspect when recovering from or living well with breast cancer. Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are terms we often hear when discussing rehabilitation, but we can sometimes confuse their true meanings.
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.
In Part 1 we discussed the risk factors of lymphedema and tips for reducing this risk. Today we’re helping you identify early signs and what treatments are available for lymphedema.
Breast cancer-related lymphedema is abnormal swelling that can develop in the arm, hand, breast, or torso on the side treated for breast cancer where lymph nodes have been removed. Lymphedema can develop suddenly or gradually. It can happen soon after surgery or can develop months or years later.
January 4, 2010, I became a fly on the wall. I was at my surgeon’s getting results from my biopsy. It was supposed to be a quick appointment as the initial needle test of fluid prior to the biopsy was negative for cancer, or so we thought. I remember hearing the doctor telling me “unfortunately it was cancer….” I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was there but literally watching over my body and the doctor from a distance. My world suddenly changed both physically and mentally.
Wendie Hayes of Stoney Creek Mountain, Ontario was diagnosed in 2011 with triple negative metaplastic phyllodes breast cancer at the age of 55 after she discovered a lump in her left breast. Her cancer is a rare type, affecting less than one percent of breast cancer patients, so it took some time to get the right diagnosis.
If you have had surgery for breast cancer, you are at risk for lymphedema, a chronic swelling of the arm or another body part due to build-up of fluid. (This fluid, known as lymph, transports white blood cells and cellular debris throughout the body.) Removal of lymph nodes under the arm during breast cancer surgery or radiation therapy can cause a blockage in the lymphatic system, which causes lymphedema. It can develop shortly after your surgery or many years later.
When Kim Bulpitt was diagnosed in March 2016 at age 53 with breast cancer, it wasn’t her first experience with serious illness. The Kitchener, Ontario resident was previously diagnosed in 1979 with kidney disease, in 2008 with Parkinson’s disease, and in 2012 with osteoarthritis resulting in replacement of both knees in 2014.