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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

Education

Our Voices Blog


Tag : patient stories

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.

The Mental Health Impacts of a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Experiencing a breast cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and while the overall physical impacts of the disease are well-known, the mental health impacts are often less discussed. The shock of being diagnosed, the fear of recurrence, and the anxiety that comes with living with a breast cancer diagnosis, among other mental health effects, are not considered. As far as the public knows, breast cancer is a physical disease that lasts only as long as its treatment. However, we know that is nowhere near the truth. To highlight this, we asked community members to comment on what impact their breast cancer diagnosis and experience has ha or continues to have on their mental health.

On the Fifth Anniversary

Five years ago, I went into a doctor’s office and walked into a storm. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It’s probably nothing.”: Getting Breast Cancer in My 30’s

It all started in July 2021. A drop of bloody nipple discharge led me down the rabbit hole of Google and WebMD which, for once, was actually reassuring - it’s usually harmless. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor the following day who shared the same sentiment – it is probably nothing, but I will refer you to a breast clinic just in case. As a 30-year-old with no family history of breast cancer and a couple of benign fibroadenomas, I wasn’t too worried, and neither was my Surgical Oncologist initially; the odds were in my favour, it was likely benign. And so I attended my ultrasound, mammogram, and biopsy appointments – each time observing how the other women in the waiting room were decades older than me.

The Tamoxifen Ten. How to Combat the Ten Years’ Worth of Wrinkles and Dry Skin Breast Cancer and Tamoxifen Add to Your Face

I’ll never forget the day I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw a face that resembled mine, except that it looked ten years older, staring back at me. And no, it wasn’t the cloudy, moth-eaten Lululemon sweater I only ever took off on laundry day, bad lighting, months-long fatigue or even my emotions playing tricks with my eyes. This was real. So much so that not even Kylie or Rihanna could help me, despite being the Holy Grails of Millennial beauty. Biologically I was still be the same age, but my skin? An extra decade’s worth of fine lines, crow’s feet, dark under eye circles and cheek sag had all but literally wiped out my formerly tight, collagen-plump and rosy glow.

Joycelyn's Cancer Journey

Joycelyn Merkley, from Shelburne, Ontario, describes herself as: a girlfriend, mother, grandmother, sister, and daughter. She has lived 53 years embracing these roles when in July of 2021 she was thrown into another role: breast cancer patient.

Closing the Breast Cancer Care Gap

This World Cancer Day, the focus is on how to ‘Close the Care Gap’. It is a call for everyone to not only become aware of the inequities that exist in cancer care, but to get actively involved in addressing and reducing such inequities. These inequities can be due to systemic and social barriers, as well as general access to care. While such gaps exist, they can be reduced and eventually eliminated. Below, we outline what CBCN is doing to close the breast cancer care gap and what you can do too.

CBCN-in-Action: 2021 in Review

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network exists to ensure the best quality of life for all Canadians diagnosed with breast cancer. We do this by voicing the views and concerns of breast cancer patients through education and advocacy activities. We also work to ensure that what we undertake is: patient-centered, credible and promotes equity.

COVID-19 and Breast Cancer: Patient Voices, Expert Knowledge

Our latest digital magazine COVID-19 and Breast Cancer: Patient Voices, Expert Knowledge approaches the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of breast cancer patients and provides credible information for breast cancer patients from healthcare professionals and experts.

I Screen, You Screen…But Can We Really Screen?

A little more than two months ago, I started having weird pains in my right breast. It’s a throbbing sensation that radiates from the right side of my breast all the way to my nipple and then beneath my breast. Sometimes it happens when my arm leans into my breast, other times when I move my entire arm and once in a while, from the impact of my bra resting against my breast. Touching the area with my hands only intensifies the pain and since I seem to have zero impulse control, I find myself pressing into these spots all the time to check if the pain is still there. It is.

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

When faced with the worst moments of life, we have two choices: lie down and die or stand up and fight. This was never truer than when I received my breast cancer diagnosis. I knew I had no other choice than to fight it with a smile on my face and as much positivity as I could muster – even if I had to fake it to make it, as they say. My boys looked at me with fear in their eyes and sadness in their hearts. This would be a defining time in their lives. I was (and still am) determined to make it a teachable moment: how to face life’s adversities and how your mindset can change everything, a lesson we could all learn.

Breast Cancer Awareness is About More Than Pink Ribbons

Breast cancer awareness is about more than pink ribbons. Yes, we said it! It’s more than telling the world that breast cancer merely exists. We all undoubtedly know that it exists, and we likely all know someone touched by breast cancer. And yet, time and again, we hear patients say, “I wish I had known.” Because there is so much about breast cancer that goes unspoken.

Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer During a Pandemic

My name is Katharina and I was diagnosed with stage 2a breast cancer in March 2020 just when the pandemic was starting. I was 25 years old at the time. I had to go through testing and treatment alone without any support person by my side.

You Get to Choose the Love You Surround Yourself With

I lost my cat, Trixie-Belle. She died from a squamous cell carcinoma, an aggressive type of mouth cancer, one week before the winter holidays last year. There was nothing my veterinarian could do to save her. She simply woke up one morning with a spot on the roof of her mouth and then, after performing every possible examination and a round of drugs, she was gone.

Parenting in the Midst of Trauma

My oldest son is 17. Then 14, and 10- and 6-year-old twins. While I don’t claim to be any kind of parenting expert, I’ve had enough experience now to know a thing or two.

Our Top Blogs From 2020!

2020 was eventful, to say the least. It was a year where many had to shift and pivot from their everyday normal. Appointments were cancelled, surgeries were delayed and rescheduled, and patients found themselves having to access their doctors and healthcare team through a screen. Breast cancer patients had to not only worry about their risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, but they also had to maintain their cancer care as best they could, something that was a challenge both mentally and physically.

Have Hair, Do Care

Breast cancer made my hair thicker. And wavy-er. Not right away obviously. It’s not like it was a special prize I was gifted with to make up for the shock and fear of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Being a Mother with a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Women are multi-dimensional and getting a breast cancer diagnosis does not change that. It doesn’t stop mothers from being mothers, daughters from being daughters, sisters from being sisters, etc. While a breast cancer diagnosis may put a pause on things such as your job and careers, some of the multi-dimensional roles and responsibilities that women play in life continues. One of these roles is being a mother. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked breast cancer patients to share with us the age at which their children were, when they were diagnosed with breast cancer. We wanted to know how breast cancer impacted their life as a mother, and vice versa. Here are just some of their stories.