When I started getting sick in the late summer of 2011, I was pretty sure I knew what it was. I thought my endometriosis was "acting up." Then my symptoms changed and a Google search convinced me I needed my gall bladder removed. I exaggerate, but the point is that while my disparate symptoms piled up, I was sure there was a simple explanation. Cancer never entered my mind, even when my gynaecologist found a lump in my breast I hadn't noticed.
February 4th marks World Cancer Day, a global event that takes place every year uniting people around the world who are concerned about the fight against cancer. Currently, 8.8 million people die from cancer globally every year and breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
Some forms of chemotherapy can affect or cause damage to your nerve endings, most commonly your sensory nerves. Your sensory nerves tell your brain to feel certain sensations such as touch, heat, cold and pain. When these nerves are damaged, you can have difficulty feeling these sensations correctly. It can lead to tingling, burning or numbness in your hands or feet, usually starting with your toes or fingers and gradually moving toward the centre of your body. It can cause debilitating pain, difficulty feeling hot or cold temperatures and can reduce your motor functioning.
My journey began on New Year’s Eve 2015, when I noticed a red mark on my right breast. It wasn’t long before my stomach dropped and I felt my face flush while my throat did that swallowing action reserved for moments just like this.
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’re a breast cancer patient who’s experiencing significant depression or anxiety, you’re not alone. Roughly one-quarter of breast cancer patients get help for anxiety or depression during their treatment. There are many reasons a person may feel anxious or depressed because of their cancer diagnosis.
I was not prepared for the number of decisions regarding treatment that needed to be made from cancer diagnosis to treatment options. It was both exhausting and overwhelming – how does one make sound life-changing decisions when there are so many options and choices? I learned to trust myself and be my own advocate as I navigated through the many decision points.
Joint pain is often a side effect of breast cancer medications, especially tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, which people are often prescribed for years. If you happen to be someone who experiences this, you know that it can range from being mildly annoying to having a debilitating effect on your daily life.
Your surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments are finished. You think you should be celebrating your return to normal. But you don’t feel the same as you did before your cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer has changed you in many ways: physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Every year clinicians, researchers, patient advocates and industry members head to Texas to share the latest breakthroughs in breast cancer research. It’s a key conference to learn about new treatments or new standards of care for breast cancer patients. Here’s some of the highlights that have the most impact on patient care today:
This year I was honoured to participate as a patient representative on the steering committee of the Canadian Cancer Research Conference hosted by the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance at the beginning of November.
This holiday season consider adding CBCN to your list for charitable giving! Here’s what you’ll be supporting.
Febrile neutropenia, or FN, is a common and potentially serious side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
Struggling with body image is an age-old tradition for women. We can be so critical in how we see ourselves. Too fat, too skinny, bad skin, bad hair…every woman has one aspect of their bodies that they do not like or wish they could change. Add getting breast cancer to the mix and all those insecurities get amplified.
If you are receiving radiation, you’ll know that there are often side effects that range from mildly annoying to severely debilitating. The self-care plan outlined by your medical team can help reduce the redness, pain, and irritation that come with radiation dermatitis.
In August 2016, Erin Richard of Sydney, Nova Scotia was diagnosed with triple negative metastatic breast cancer. She was only 39 years old.
I was born and raised in Southern Alberta and moved to Calgary to attend university and eventually raise my family here. I am an active senior who enjoys singing with a Calgary performing group, travelling with my husband, watching sports and movies on TV, spending time with my two daughters, who both live in Calgary, keeping in touch with my granddaughter, who now lives in Victoria, and watching my grandson grow up and enjoy his activities.
The more researchers and doctors learn about cancer, the more they are beginning to understand that there isn’t one standard approach to treating it but many factors to consider to come up with the best treatment plan for each person. New research is adding to this knowledge and instead of treating a cancer based on its location in the body, clinicians are starting to personalize and improve treatments for individual patients based on genomics.
My life changed forever once I received the phone call no one wants to get early one morning in March 2015. My surgeon was on the other line with the results from my recent biopsy. The lump that was supposed to be only a pesky cyst was indeed cancerous. The surgeon further explained my diagnosis. But the only thing I heard was that I had cancer. My world felt like it was spinning out of control.
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.