The Voice of Canadians With Breast Cancer

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Breast Cancer Issues To Advocate For

There are various issues that you may be facing as a breast cancer patient. These can range from psycho-social issues to financial issues. While all the impacts and side effects from a breast cancer diagnosis are important to address, it is important that the issue you advocate for has specific, concrete and measurable solutions and are issues that are shared with other breast cancer patients. This allows you to provide a story that does not just remain a story but rather, drives a cause that leads to change for yourself as well as other breast cancer patients.

Below we highlight some of the most prevalent issues that individuals diagnosed with breast cancer face and may need advocacy.

Metastatic Breast Cancer

For many Canadians affected by metastatic breast cancer, there continues to be a lack of awareness, understanding, resources, and support, surrounding this disease. If you are an individual living with metastatic breast cancer, you may need to advocate for:

  • Increased awareness and understanding of metastatic breast cancer, including the lived experiences of Canadians diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer
  • Equitable and timely access to effective treatments for metastatic breast cancer
  • Increased investments in research to improve quality of life and health outcomes for Canadians living with metastatic breast cancer

Financial Burden of Breast Cancer

Cancer can be expensive, and not all costs are covered by the healthcare system. Major out-of-pocket expenses can include drugs, medical equipment, transportation, and childcare. The financial burdens of a breast cancer diagnosis can become compounded if you are unable to work or have to work reduced hours, do not have insurance, or do not have a high enough income to cover costs. Finance related advocacy can be:

  • Increasing awareness of the financial burden of a breast cancer diagnosis on Canadian families
  • Pushing for reforms of government income replacement programs, specifically Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
  • Ensuring that employers uphold the Employment Equity Act

Drug Access

Currently, Canada lacks a national approach to prescription drug coverage. While each province and territory has its own independent system for providing cancer treatments, the eligibility requirements and nature of coverage varies greatly across provinces, territories, and other jurisdictions. Advocating for better drug access across Canada may look like:

  • Pushing for greater transparency and accountability by Canadian health agencies
  • Calling for and participating in opportunities for patient engagement throughout the healthcare system
  • Participating in and raising awareness of CBCN’s mBC Access Matters campaign
  • Contacting government officials and bodies on drug access issues using CBCN's Advocacy Guides

End-of-Life Care

Palliative end-of-life care is a form of healthcare with a focus on relieving pain symptoms while providing emotional and spiritual support for those living with or dying from an incurable illness. It can begin at any point during your treatment to improve your quality of life and people can often move in and out of palliative treatment. If you are receiving palliative treatment and end-of-life care, you might advocate by:

  • Calling for palliative care to be integrated into Canada's public and private healthcare systems
  • Petitioning for a national standard of care that is monitored and enforced
  • Pushing for targeted funding for palliative care nurses and palliative care resources

Young Women with Breast Cancer

While the challenges faced by young women diagnosed with breast cancer can be faced by any breast cancer patient, they are experienced in a unique way when you are young. In particular, younger individuals may be diagnosed at a later stage as their symptoms are sometimes dismissed, due to the false belief that certain age groups are too young to have breast cancer. As a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer, you can advocate for causes specific to young women by:

  • Calling for more research that studies young women and breast cancer
  • Raising and increasing awareness of the unique challenges faced by young Canadians diagnosed or living with breast cancer
  • Urging for breast cancer resources and spaces that specifically target young women diagnosed with breast cancer

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