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.
I’ve started counting the number of times I emotionally beat myself up every day. Each mean, cruel and hurtful criticism said silently to myself in the privacy of my own mind. Yesterday I hit number 22, my all-time high for the week. So far today, I’m up to seven unkind thoughts. It’s nine o’clock in the morning and my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.
Two days ago, my lower back seized and then, seemingly stuck. Never have I ever had back problems. Yet, here I am frozen with body-gripping spasms. I can’t roll over in bed, stand up straight or even wipe my bum without yelping loudly. Thank God, and I don’t say this lightly, I was able to call a friend (who suffers from chronic back pain), who called her chiropractor, who graciously booked me in at the end of his appointment-packed day.
I have been struggling with my body image these last 8 weeks. The funny thing is that it’s not with the two scars I have running across my chest. I have actually adapted well to that change, even with my right scar being lumpy and misshapen. What I have been struggling with is my weight gain thanks to Tamoxifen. Without estrogen, my mid-section is taking on the appearance of a barrel. A barrel made of pudding, with an oatmeal crust! Having always been fit and healthy, I am finding myself disturbed by this body morphing of mine.
I worked during my entire breast cancer treatment. I didn’t want to. I had to. I live alone. I don’t have a husband or boyfriend. I pay my bills on time and by myself. Yes, it was a choice, but it was a horrible one.
I hope I can write this column without crying. Or at least if I do get emotional, that I won’t need to stop a million times while I wait for the sobbing to ease up so that I can see clearly enough to continue typing. And no, I’m not being dramatic.
I could cry writing this. Or maybe screaming for five minutes into a pillow so my neighbours don’t hear me would feel better. The walls in my condo aren’t that thick. Either way, my reality’s not changing any time soon. And by reality, I mean my body and the extra weight it has been lugging around since I started taking Tamoxifen a year ago.
Hair loss is something that some women who are diagnosed with breast cancer face. Hair can be a huge part of a person’s identity, especially for a woman. The way your hair looks can communicate a lot to others about the type of person you are. Therefore, it’s understandable that losing your hair following a breast cancer diagnosis can add distress to an already devastating situation. In order to bring some relief and sense of control should you have to deal with hair loss, we outline why and when hair loss occurs as well as things that you can do to get through it.
According to a 2014 study by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, less than 7% of adult cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials.1 This may be because many cancer patients are not aware of clinical trials, do not know how to enroll in them or are concerned that they are unsafe. In part one of our blog series on clinical trials, we explain what clinical trials are to provide you with the right tools to decide whether you should enroll in a clinical trial.
Like tai chi and qigong, acupuncture is another form of traditional Chinese medicine that has become a popular therapy used in the cancer community for help with side effects.
When people think of therapy the most common therapy session that comes to mind probably includes a person sitting across from or lying down beside a therapist and talking about their feelings. But what if you can never quite find the right words to say to express yourself or talking through what you are feeling doesn’t seem to be helping? The truth is therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. People are looking for and creating new ways to help cope with the stresses in their lives.
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.
Tai chi and qigong have long been popular in the cancer community to help with the effects of the disease. This week we look at these two forms of Chinese therapy, their similarities, differences and benefits.
Vitamins are tiny organic compounds with a massive impact on your general health and well-being. Vitamins can be obtained from your daily diet, or they can be sourced from the sun (only vitamin D). More so, they have a say in almost each and every aspect of the digestive system. The best part is that as essential as they are, your body only requires them in small amounts.
Canada’s new food guide is, in one word, refreshing! First off, it makes us hungry just looking at it. And secondly, it does away with the confusing portion sizes and focuses more on practical tips for incorporating healthier foods into our diets.
Meditation programs are popping up across Canada – and for good reason. This centuries-old practice, also known as mindfulness, is one of the best tools for our health, well-being, and happiness. Research shows a daily meditation practice reduces stress, depression, and inflammation while improving sleep, fatigue, and menopausal symptoms in women who have a breast cancer diagnosis. Additionally, studies connect meditation and an enhanced immune function. These are all important considerations when you’ve had a breast cancer diagnosis.
Biosimilar therapies have already been in use in Canada for a few years, mostly in the chronic disease and supportive care settings. But soon they will be used for treating cancer as well. There isn’t a lot of information about these new oncology biosimilars and it’s important that breast cancer patients are aware of how their treatment plans may be impacted by these new therapies. We explore some of the emerging biosimilar therapies that will be used to treat cancer patients soon.
One of the most common complaints you hear from patients getting chemotherapy is brain fog. It's why it's most commonly known as "chemo brain". But what is it and why does it happen? And most importantly, how can it be managed?
Biosimilar drugs will soon be entering the breast cancer treatment landscape and are already available for support medications. With these emerging treatment options, it’s important to know more about them so you can make informed decisions about your treatment plan.
In complete contrast to constipation, diarrhea is also a common side effect of treatment. While many chemotherapies and targeted therapies cause constipation, some of the others cause diarrhea. Loss of bowel control can not only be embarrassing, but it can cause painful cramps and lead to dehydration.