Giving Voice to Canadians Concerned About Breast Cancer

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Tag : treatment

A patient’s perspective on MedSearch

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, and your experience with breast cancer.

Q&A with ODANO on how they can help you access drug coverage

Last month, we connected with Alan from ODANO, the Oncology Drug Access Navigators of Ontario, to answer a few questions about who they are and how they help patients in Ontario access life-saving medications.

Living flat is freedom

My name is Alison Thompson and I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.  To give you some background, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 15 years ago.  Her cancer was an aggressive form. It spread to her spine and brain, and she passed away about three years after the initial diagnosis. 

Finding Harmony after Breast Reconstruction

I was forty years old, running a successful business, comfortable in my finances, and feeling ready to settle down and start a family. Suddenly, a breast cancer diagnosis upended my sense of contentment and sent me on a journey of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, a preventative double mastectomy, and, ultimately, reconstructive surgery.

SurgeryGuide is much-needed

For Andrea Sveinbjornson of Regina, the Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s new SurgeryGuide is an invaluable tool, one that she wishes she had when she had to make decisions about breast surgery in 2016.

Could a simple blood test help detect breast cancer?

That’s what Dr. Majumder and her team of researchers at Brandon University in Manitoba are hoping to find out. Dr. Majumder, Assistant Professor in Cancer Genetics and Cell Biology, is screening blood plasma from breast cancer patients and patients who don’t have breast cancer to determine if there is a blood biomarker like micro RNA (miRNA) that could potentially tell us when breast cancer is present or growing in a person.

Living with inflammatory breast cancer

In August 2014 I found a lump in my left breast. This is unusual for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare and very aggressive cancer where cancer blocks the lymph vessels.

SurgeryGuide: Helping you understand your surgical options

We all know how integral surgery is for the treatment of breast cancer. It’s usually the first step in treating early stages of the disease which means it can come quickly after diagnosis. The time when you’re still processing your diagnosis is also the time when you’re making some of the most important decisions about your treatment. Trying to make these decisions while learning this new, complicated language called cancer doesn’t make those decisions any easier.

Understanding the Lived Experience of Breast Cancer

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.

The Power of We

Together we can accomplish great things! It’s always amazing to watch how individuals coming together as one united voice can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

The innocence of a toddler and the reality of cancer

It was just another typical morning in our house, trying to get my son fed and dressed before I take him to daycare. As I am multitasking, getting myself dressed and making sure my son is actually brushing his teeth, I notice he’s watching me. He’s still trying to process those two large scars across my chest. The incisions are still fresh and slowly healing and turning to scars. Scars that represent where my breasts once were but now is just an empty space. He finally pipes up. “When are your boobies going to grow back, Mommy?” He asks so innocently.

Here’s what you need to know about inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of the disease that doesn’t get a lot of attention. It’s tough to diagnose because of its unusual symptoms, and it’s more common in young women which makes it particularly tricky since the symptoms mimic that of mastitis, a common breast infection in new moms who breastfeed. Here’s what you need to know:

History of breast cancer treatment

People have known about breast cancer since ancient times.  For most of that time, there were no effective treatments.  However, in the last 120 years, advances in surgical and medical treatments have meant that today, 98 percent of patients with localized breast cancer survive at least five years after diagnosis.  The following timeline shows the development of breast cancer treatments.

Triple-negative breast cancer: managing the fear of recurrence

“Abject terror floating in the back of my head.” That’s how Shelley Moore of St. Albert, Alberta describes her reaction to her 2014 diagnosis of Stage II triple negative breast cancer.

The healing powers of meditation

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.

On Be the Choice

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2016. My understanding of the language of breast cancer that allowed me to fully comprehend my diagnosis and treatment options, came long after the news. Long after the radiologist told me that my mammogram was “highly suspicious for cancer.” Long after the surgeon doing my breast biopsy spelled out that I had a mass in my left breast, at least two enlarged lymph nodes, and was facing “a very difficult year.” Using that language now, I had locally advanced, hormone responsive, HER2 negative, stage 2, invasive ductal carcinoma: T2N1. After that difficult year (and more), my cancer is in remission.

Biosimilars for Cancer: What’s Coming Down the Pipeline?

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.

Understanding Biosimilars from a fellow breast cancer patient

As a breast cancer survivor and board member of CBCN, I am very interested in how biosimilars will be used in breast cancer treatment in Canada. While not commonly understood today, biosimilars will soon be a household discussion among breast cancer patients.   As patients, it is important for us to know how biosimilars will be used to treat cancer, especially if they are going to be used as effective alternatives to brand name treatments. Here are some of the points that I think are important for us, as patients, to consider.

Research highlights from ASCO’s 2018 Annual Meeting

Earlier this month, the annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology was held in Chicago. Here, key research developments in every area of cancer care are shared with oncology professionals from around the world. We’ve compiled the top breast cancer highlights to come out of this year’s ASCO 2018 conference:

What you need to know: Accessing clinical trials out of province and out of country

I have been living with metastatic breast cancer for over eight years. While I am usually averse to using battle analogies for living with and dying from cancer, finding the best care has required a fight, considerable perseverance, and hard work. Fortunately, my ER+/PR+ tumours (pleura/liver/lymph) have responded well, but not great, to hormonal therapies.  I’m onto my seventh line of treatment.