According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, with more than 2.2 million cases in 2020. It is estimated that 1 in 12 women will develop breast cancer and it will be the primary cause of death among all other types of cancer in women. However, breast cancer survival has improved significantly since the 1980s due to increased early detection, screening programs, and improved treatment options.
No person truly understands what it’s like to be diagnosed with breast cancer until it happens to them. It can be terrifying and overwhelming and can take physical and psychological tolls on a person’s body. 1 in every 8 Canadian women will hear the words “You have breast cancer” in her lifetime and 5,000 Canadians die from metastatic breast cancer each year. That means 26,000+ women every year have to live through surgery, chemo, radiation and side effects like fatigue, depression, chemo brain, and nausea, all while balancing their work and home life. Understanding the lived experience of a diagnosis like this is imperative to improving support for patients, survivors and their families.