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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

Education

Our Voices Blog


Tag : metastatic breast cancer

Latest Research from SABCS 2023 – Metastatic

There was an abundance of promising new research that came out of the 2023 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Here are some highlights for metastatic breast cancer. Be sure to check out our early-stage highlights.

For Lorraine’s Sake

Our mother had breast cancer in her 50s, which increased her two daughters’ risk of also developing breast cancer. In 2005, my sister, Lorraine Smith, who was 41, enrolled in an early detection program and had her first mammogram. At the time, mammography reports were not disclosed to the patients, and they were not told anything about the density of their breasts, and what it means.

Q&E Sessions: A Surgical Oncologist Answers Your Questions About Breast Cancer Clinical Trials

In today’s post, we provide the questions that were sent in and asked during the live session of our Questions and Experts session held on October 3, 2023. In this session, Surgical Oncologist Dr. Mark Basik answers your questions about clinical trials. In the parentheses, you’ll find the timestamp of where to find the question in the on-demand video.

Breast Cancer Research Highlights from the ESMO Congress 2023

The European Society of Medical Oncology held their annual congress in Madrid, Spain from October 20-24, 2023. Members of the CBCN team had the opportunity to attend and learn about the latest research to be announced for breast cancer. Here are some of those highlights.

Q&E Sessions: A Medical Oncologist Answers Your Questions about Care and Considerations for Older Patients

In today’s post, we provide the questions that were sent in and asked during the live session of our Questions and Experts session held on September 19, 2023. In this session, Dr. Tina Hsu, MD, FRCPC answers all your questions about navigating a breast cancer diagnosis at an older age. In the parentheses, you’ll find the timestamp of where to find the question in the on-demand video.

Navigating Emotions, Identities, and Finding Hope

Colleen Packer of Calgary felt a wide range of emotions when she was diagnosed with metastatic lobular breast cancer in 2019: “Shock. Frustration. Fear. Grief. I sobbed. Initially in that first year, it had a really huge impact. Now it has become more routine. Now I feel a lot more in control. It’s a strange mix of feelings to have. It’s both/and. It’s possible to feel happy and sad, angry, grateful, afraid, and confident all at the same time. All those feelings are valid, and you need to provide space for all those feelings because they’re all very much a part of the experience.

Stronger Together: Sharing Genes and Breast Cancer Journeys

My name is Cortney Drover, and my identical twin sisters’ name is Connie Claeys. We are 37-year-old females living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, and being identical twins, we both carry the BRCA2 gene. Here is our story.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Should be Important to Us All

According to research from the National Cancer Institute, the number of women being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is increasing; at the same time, these women are living longer, especially younger women. Living longer with metastatic breast cancer, a stage of breast cancer which is driven in part by out-of-control production of proteins by cancerous cells, means increased needs for services and research.

Free Your Mind: Five Must-know Free Psychotherapy Resources

A breast cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling winded, like you’ve been socked in the stomach and can’t breathe, or even think for that matter. That’s how I felt. I had no emotion, no tears and no anger when I first heard the words “you have breast cancer.” My mind and body simply froze and everything around me, including my mind, went hazy. I attribute this now to shock, which, in my opinion, is a fairly reasonable reaction to receiving such life-changing news. And while the haziness eventually wore off, the surrealness of my new reality remained overwhelming.

How Breast Cancer Transformed Colleen’s Leadership Career

If you found out that you had a life-limiting illness, would you tell your colleagues at work? If you did, would they think you’re less capable of doing your job? That was the dilemma that Colleen Packer faced when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2019.

The Cancer Time Warp

It’s safe to say that most of us believe, kind of like the-sky-is-blue believe, that the past, present, and future are the logical chronology of time. Even mathematical equations, which I am terrible at, define time as the measure of the duration that exists between each sequence of these events. So how come when it comes to breast cancer, time is so fucked up? It would be so much more manageable if we, individuals diagnosed with cancer, could just live in the present.

Neutropenia and Febrile Neutropenia

Neutropenia is a condition caused by lower-than-normal amounts of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. Neutrophils fight infection in the body by killing harmful bacteria and other blood-borne pathogens. The most common cause of neutropenia during breast cancer treatment is chemotherapy, though other types of cancer medicine can also cause it. Chemotherapy can cause neutropenia because it kills rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells. It can also affect other quickly dividing cells in our bodies, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. When chemotherapy destroys too many white blood cells, neutropenia occurs.

Ringworm: Tamoxifen’s Secret Side Effect

Trapped beneath my bra, cotton t-shirt and cropped pants, pools of sweat mingled with dust and grime before being absorbed into my clothes and skin. Despite the cold showers I soaped up under twice daily, one before heading out into the wee hours of the morning and another again in the dark of night before crawling under a thin sheet to sleep, the dirty damage was done. A skin fungus had formed. I had ringworm.

Taking the Plunge: Breast Cancer and the Dating Pool

The thought of dating after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment might make you nervous or excited. It may also reawaken or increase emotional responses you had at diagnosis or during treatment. If you have anxiety or depression, these responses can cause you to focus on or magnify negative thoughts about your prospects for dating. If you want to date but feel reluctant to start, you might be having difficulty imagining yourself meeting new people and having fun.

FinNav Five: Government Programs

The negative financial impacts after a breast cancer diagnosis can be strenuous, especially for those already in a precarious financial situation prior to being diagnosed. Already having to deal with the overwhelming feeling of being diagnosed with breast cancer, patients should be able to focus on their health and not have the added stress of dealing with their financial situation. That is why we created FinancialNavigator, an online database of various financial assistance programs across Canada. 

Highlights from ASCO 2023

The 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting was held from June 2 to 6. CBCN was pleased to be able to attend and participate in the many interesting and groundbreaking research that was shared at ASCO this year. Below, we present a few highlights and takeaways from this year’s conference.

Show Me the Money. Five Ways You Can Receive Financial Support

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had no idea how hard it would be. Not the surgery, I’ve had major surgery before, so I wasn’t afraid of being put under anesthetic and being operated on. Mentally, I was focused on one sole factor, survival, so my head space at the time was very clear and didn’t allow for any other emotions or thoughts. Realityfear, anxiety, hope…that all came later.

Addressing the Healthcare Needs of Indigenous Populations

June 21, 2023 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. This is also a day that should call to attention the various issues that Indigenous peoples continue to face, including racism, colonialism, and disparate health outcomes from much of the rest of Canada. Broad determinates of health like geography, accessibility and availability of services, and cultural differences contribute to the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples.

Reason #5 Cancer Still Sucks: Radiation Therapy is Hit or Miss

The fifth reason that cancer still sucks is that although radiation therapy can be an effective cancer treatment, it may fail to kill some of the tumor cells in its path, or it may miss some tumor cells completely. In addition, while “palliative” radiotherapy can dramatically improve symptoms in some individuals with incurable cancers, it may have minimal impact or provide only very brief relief to others.

“Mommy Has Cancer”: The Most Difficult Conversation to Have

In February 2019, five days after my birthday, I found a tiny, split pea lump in my right breast. I immediately went to my GP, who sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound. The first available appointment was the following week. The mammogram went “squishingly” and then I was shuffled off for my ultrasound. Afterwards, the technician told me they needed to review the images with the radiologist to make sure they had everything they needed. I didn’t really think twice about it as that seemed to be the normal practice during my pregnancy.