Since 1986, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has been at the forefront of a nation-wide movement to raise awareness and mobilize action on breast cancer. Today, the Foundation is the leading organization in Canada dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer. Our investments in vital research, education and health promotion programs have led progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Learn more about the work of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Breast Cancer Facts
In December 1998 I found lump in my left breast. I went to the family doctor who said it was nothing. I had a mammogram in the Spring and was told we would just watch it.
Within a month my breast swelled, became pitted and itchy. I returned to family doctor who immediately called a surgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Upon examination, he was able to get me an appointment with an oncologist the same day who diagnosed me with IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) - an automatic stage 3B and it was very rare and fast growing. If not caught in the early stages, statistics show that you have 18 months left. Some doctors never see IBC as it is rare.
I had six months of chemotherapy, then a mastectomy, which was followed by eight weeks of radiation therapy. 1999 was a blur. I am now happy to say that I am a 12-year survivor. The only complication I have is that I have developed Lymphedema in my left arm which is quite bothersome but I can live with that because I am alive!
In our family, Cancer is not an “unfamiliar” word. From Leukemia, Spinal Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Prostrate Cancer, Colon Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Melanoma, Larynx and many cases of Breast Cancer. So after losing my dear sister to Pancreatic Cancer in 2002, I started seeing a Geneticist. DNA has been taken from many family members hoping that one day we will find a common link to why we, as a family, have had so many incidents of different cancers. With all this being said I had become very diligent in my health and made sure that I have my yearly check-ups. I get all the necessary tests done, and above all, I make sure I have that yearly Mammogram.
Then in 2009 after having that regular Mammogram I received a call from my doctor’s office. I also received a letter from the Mammogram Screening people to make sure that if my doctor hadn’t already contacted me I was to contact him. To make a long story short, after lots of test and a biopsy, and on the advice of my surgeon, it was decided that I consider a Mastectomy. The big question was whether I do just the one side or both? It was questioned because of my family history, and due to the fact that that some patients had to return for another mastectomy and go through surgery again after another detection. I had decided that I just didn’t want to take the risk. I decided that I wanted to live the rest of my life not having to worry if I was going to have to go through all of this again. After receiving the pathology results, I knew I had made the right decision.
When you hear people are diagnosed with Cancer you have sympathy, and best wishes and prayers for them to recover but when it happens to you, you think the world has ended. You think, why me? What did I do wrong? Why, why, why? For me something deep inside took over. I have found an inner strength that I sure never knew I had. Its funny where you’re inner power comes from when you’re faced with something like Cancer. I thought for sure I was handed a death sentence but instead I gained a total new outlook on life. Now I don’t want to waste another minute on useless things. I have so much I want to do.... and darn it, I will do them all. I had my original surgeries at the end of February 2010, and my final reconstructive procedure this past November. Only six days after the mastectomies I started training to be able to participate in the Weekend To End Cancer Walk the following July. I did that walk and walked again in 2011. I wanted to do the Run for a Cure in October both years but I used that time to do some traveling to see some of the world’s wonders, and last October I even walked with the wolves in Golden, BC.
My name is Greg McKeown. I farm west of Moose Jaw. In October of 2005, I had a doctor’s appointment. This was during harvest. I had thoughts of cancelling my appointment but I didn’t. It was a good thing I didn’t. As I was finishing my examination with my doctor, I mentioned to the doctor that there was a lump in my left nipple area. I didn’t think too much of the lump but thought I would mention it. My doctor got a look of concern on his face when he palpitated the lump. He suggested that I see a surgeon and get a mammogram done. He told me not to worry about it, and said it was probably nothing.
As I was hoping it was nothing, life went on for about a week. I was to go for a mammogram 3 weeks after seeing the doctor. As luck would have it, there was a cancellation in the mammogram department. They phoned me as I was hauling grain that I had waited a month to get to the elevator. When the technician said she had a cancellation, I had a fleeting thought that I could put the mammogram off, but something twigged in my head and told me to go get the test done. The grain could wait.The day after the mammogram was done, we saw the surgeon. Things moved very quickly after that.
Breast cancer is a disease that is in my family, my mother, aunt, cousin all on the maternal side. Being a guy, one assumes that the lump will not be breast cancer. But it was. Don’t assume anything.
For me, the mastectomy is not as traumatic as it would be for a woman. This is only my thought. There is still the loss and of change of self-image. Life will go on.
Breast cancer is a disease that men should not take lightly. I count myself quite lucky that things fell into place. You hear of other men that wait when they discover a lump in their breast, and it is too late for recovery. Breast cancer is not exclusively a female disease. Men get it too. If you are a guy and you find a lump, do not ignore it. Get it checked out.
Nearly six years have passed since my initial diagnosis of male breast cancer. Chemotherapy is behind me, but yearly mammograms continue along with routine checkups. Chemotherapy was easier to go through than I had anticipated, for which I am thankful. My Tamoxifen therapy post-chemo is now complete as well. I have been "fired" from the cancer clinic, and hope they never decide to "rehire" me. Medical follow-up is now done through my family doctor - to him, all of us are forever grateful for his quick action. If it wasn't for him, I really don't believe I would be here today to share my story.
I am grateful for all the help from the doctors, nurses and medical staff that have helped me and my family on this road to recovery. It seems like my journey with breast cancer can be compared to being on a plane ride - you have your ups and downs, a bit of turbulence - you sure hope the plane lands safely!
I would like to thank my wife, my three sons, and my extended family for understanding what I went through. It was tough on everyone. I am fortunate to have good friends and neighbors for all the help and support they have given me. Life continues at its ever busy pace, but I have learned to slow down and enjoy the little things in life and not take anything for granted.
I was first diagnosed in 2000 with breast cancer. My father had recently passed away two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer and that was fresh in my mind. All I could think of when my doctor told me I had breast cancer was that I had two weeks to live. I remember thinking I did not want to die and I wanted to grab and hold tight to my husband Doug and be with my family.
There are a lot of words that can take your breath away and Breast Cancer are two of them. When you are diagnosed with breast cancer the one startling reality is that this changes everything irrevocably and permanently, in ways both subtle and significant. You embark on one of life’s most profound journeys.
I started on my journey of getting rid of the cancer and living much longer than two weeks. After all I wanted much more time with my husband, my family and there were lots of things I wanted to do and lots of people to meet. I wanted to tell people that you do not have to surrender to cancer.
I went to the oncologist and radiation oncologist with my husband and sister in tow so that they could take notes because I was not sure I would remember what was being said. I do remember that the first oncologist that I saw was hard to understand and I thought he said I was going to lose my hearing when in fact he said hair. I thought well if you had to lose something it was better to lose your hair than your hearing.
My surgery was set for May and it was determined that I had a tumor in my breast, as well as, lymph node involvement. I then started chemotherapy in May and finished in October and yes indeed your hair does come out. I remember sitting with some friends and I put my hand to my head and ended up with a handful of hair. I think that this upset the people I was with more than myself. I decided that I would get my husband involved and we got our dog’s trimmer and Doug shaved my hair. Some people look great bald but unfortunately I am not one of them, and I bought a lot of hats. I do remember going as a bald eagle to a Halloween party.
The next part for me was radiation. I went for a full month. I think the worst part of this was when the nurses left and the big door closed behind them. I do have a permanent sun tan on my chest and back although it is just in squares.
I decided to change my ways after I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I started to, as they say, slow down and smell the roses. I found myself being so grateful for the little things in life. I also found myself reaching out to other survivors to help them any way I could. One of the ways was volunteering at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I also joined a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team called Sistership. We all paddle on the boat with a renewed sense of life after having gone through breast cancer. Most of the survivors I have met have the same look in their eyes that say “I have been there, done that and I survived” and they will also be the first to tell you that you will make it. As a survivor you go from patient to counselor.
Then in 2007, in the same month that I was diagnosed before, I was told that I had cancer again. The shock is still the same but you have different fears than you do the first time you hear those words. I had to go through surgery and chemo again but this time there would be no radiation. Well, already there was a plus.
I did have a third surgery in 2008 but the results were benign. I hope and pray that I do not have to go through surgery, chemotherapy or radiation again. I also hope and pray that we will have a future where no one will ever have to go through this.
I decided that this year I would volunteer to be the Run Director for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. I wanted to give back to them for all the work they do and I believe in their vision of a “future without breast cancer”. I traveled to Toronto for Run Director training and all the people there are trying to ensure this vision as well.
When I returned I received an email from Jessica Brown at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, I had spoken to her in Toronto. She was looking to highlight a person by naming the 2011 woman's Eyewear Pink Collection sunglasses after them and wanted to know if I would be that person. The sunglasses are called the "Exclusive Eyewear Pink Collection" and each pair of sunglasses is named after a survivor. I replied back to Jessica immediately that I would be honored to be that person. I had heard of the Eyewear Pink sunglasses and I went to the website www.eyewearpink.com and read the stories of other women who have been given this great honour. Eyewear Pink is dedicated to all the people who have been affected by breast cancer. The company is called Peeks Eyewear and they are the leading supplier of eyewear in Canada.
I am very humbled by being asked to be part of the Eyewear Pink Sunglasses and having a pair of sunglasses named after me. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought this would happen. I think this is just another way that the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and their Partners have and will help breast cancer survivors. When you put on these sunglasses my hope is that by looking through them you will see a future without breast cancer.
Please go on line to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and read what great work they are doing to help find a cure for cancer and for their ongoing work in helping those who have survived. I would really like to see as many survivors as possible out on October 2, 2011 to participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. Go to www.cbcf.org
Remember that a mammogram is one photo opportunity you don’t want to miss!!
At the age of 44, I found a lump about the size of a loonie on the side of my left breast. I went to the Doctor and was told not to worry about it as my breasts were very dense. I changed Doctors and was told the same thing. Finally a year later I told the new Doctor that this lump should not be there, and insisted it be removed so she sent me to a surgeon.
Even the surgeon told me not to worry about it but if I wanted it to be removed he would do the surgery. The surgery took place and I was told that there was cancer behind the lump. I was very fortunate to only have radiation treatments for one month as a result. I was 45 years old when the lump was removed, and I am 57 years old now. I am very thankful I insisted on having the lump removed.
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In 2008, you would have been more likely to find Marlene behind her desk then in the kitchen. As a hurried Vice President, Marlene barely found the time to spend with her then three year old daughter Dakota and her self-employed husband Rick.
In July of that year Marlene was faced with news that forced her to push back from her desk and re-evaluate her priorities...that news was stage three breast Cancer. Now like most people, Marlene was unsure about what challenges she would have to face, but instead of consuming herself in her diagnosis she decided to look at it as a challenge and a way to change her life for the better.
Now Marlene is just over two years post treatment with a new body and spirit intact. She is training hard to prepare for marathons - in fact she ran a half marathon 6 months after treatment! She has also become a recognized social entrepreneur and has shifted her focus to healthy eating and disease prevention through her new show TV show, Marlene's Meal Makeovers. Marlene hopes that through the show she can teach families to "Cook Once and Produce Twice" in order for busy families to cook more wholesome meals for their families and reduce their time in the kitchen. Marlene cooks every recipe in the Marlene's Meal Makeovers test kitchen in order to ensure that they meet the needs of this generation of families. Families have more control over disease prevention then they think. Marlene hopes to teach families to reunite in the kitchen so that they can own this power and use it to their advantage.
With her growing audience and demand for her recipes she has also begun a side project with her first cookbook Marlene’s Meal Makeovers, first edition Cook Once, Produce Twice calendar cookbook. This seasonal cookbook could be purchased for just the tips alone! Continuing with her commitment back to breast cancer research, Marlene will be contributing $2.00 from the sale of each MMM cookbook to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
In her spare time Marlene has devoted herself to providing hope and raising money for breast cancer and charity initiatives. She feels that it is important to give back to the community that has given her so much. She is actively involved in speaking engagements as she wants to spread the word about disease prevention and healthy eating to as many people as possible. It is evident by every person that meets Marlene that she works with the passion of making Cancer history not just for her family but every family.
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After being diagnosed with invasive ductile cancer in my seventh month of pregnancy at the young age of 35, I experienced the true meaning of mortality. With a two-year-old at home and another on the way, I felt that I had everything to live for and was devastated and fearful that I wouldn’t see the day when my beautiful babies would grow into beautiful people.
That was the limited vision I faced at the beginning of my journey with breast cancer. Initially, to me the word “cancer” was synonymous with “death”.
It wasn’t until words from another survivor - “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” - were shared with me that I was able to refocus and begin to live each day to its fullest.
After much contemplation, the old “cruel to be kind” psychology set me back on track with the principles of positive thinking, and helped me overcome my first bout with breast cancer.
A second onset of the disease twenty-one months later, after the birth of my twins, challenged me once again. With a different prescription of treatment and an attitude of determination to not fall victim to the disease, I was successful in beating the all too familiar physical and emotional symptoms once more.
Through challenge and adversity, positivity and determination, my once restricted “vision” now serves as a motivational avenue to help find the cure. I have been blessed with a wonderful family who has supported me through these challenges, and served as a source of strength and encouragement.
As I gratefully celebrate seven years cancer free, my vision is now one of hope, progress and growth, and the comfort in knowing that where there is newfound knowledge, there can be life; a life free of breast cancer.
This is the story of an extraordinary woman Emilie, who when facing adversity, showed unbelievable determination and courage battling Breast Cancer.
It all started in July 2006 when our father, Andre, was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Five months later in December our mother, Emilie, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She underwent surgery in January 2007, at 70 years of age for a complete mastectomy of one breast. For our father, Emilie’s life partner for almost 50 years, it was different - only chemotherapy and radiation treatments were possible.
Between our father’s frequent admission to the hospital, and the care and attention she was providing him at home, she still went to her own chemotherapy treatment without any complaints. Despite the rapid deterioration of our father’s health and her own fight to survive, it is with dignity that our mother, Emilie, went through this great ordeal, and she was by our father's side when he went to his final rest on July 29th, 2007.
Today at 73 years old, she’s doing much better. Emilie’s Breast Cancer is in remission and has two more years of medication to take. Her energy is coming back more and more every day, she’s more independent taking care of herself, and goes for a nice walk every day.
Over the last three years, she has start reading again, bought a computer and has travelled around North America. She has even more places to go in the future.
We just want to let you know how much we love Mom and are proud of everything she has accomplished. She is an example of unbelievable courage, a true fighter like we don’t see any more - a real survivor.
Johanne, Nicole and Linda
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to receive a phone call telling me that a biopsy had been scheduled just 2 weeks after my annual mammogram. I will never forget the date of December 5th, 2008 when my biopsy results came back as breast cancer.
2009 was a year of more tests and doctor’s appointments that I could have never imagined. Add to that, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It really was enough to make my head spin. What I did not know at the time was what a wonderful and knowledgeable medical team I had. All I knew for certain was that I was loved and supported by so many of my family, friends and colleagues. My mom, sister and niece escorted me to all my appointments. And my mom, bless her soul, looked after me for months when I was so ill. I am truly blessed with the people in my life.
It has been 2 _ years since my diagnosis and so many wonderful things have happened. I was a very sedentary individual before my journey began. Learning that diet and exercise could possibly prevent reoccurrence, I discovered yoga for cancer patients now called Yoga Thrive. It is now a staple in my life along with the all wonderful people I have met and now have friendships with. I am also now volunteering for events that support the cause. I have always felt a need to pay it forward so others who have been diagnosed with cancer, feel loved and supported the way I did.
Pink happens to be my favourite color. Breast cancer was not really the vision I had for wearing my pink! I consider myself a survivor and “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”. Thanks to companies like Peeks and their Eyewear Pink collection, the research can continue. My wish is to eliminate breast cancer for our future generations.
At the age of 32 my health was not something I gave much thought to, until the fall of 2004. I was pregnant with my third child and early in the pregnancy found a lump in my breast. Sometime later I got the call that no one wants to get; I had breast cancer. I would look into the faces of my two children, and think of the one not yet born, and want nothing more than to see them grow up.
After considering the treatment options available, my husband Craig and I made our decision. On March 22, 2005 we were rewarded with the birth of a beautiful little girl. I couldn’t have gotten through that time without the love and support of my family and friends, and especially my husband.
Since then I have met so many amazing women with stories very similar to mine. Programs such as Peeks’ Eyewear Pink campaign are making an important contribution to the breast cancer cause. Advances in research are giving hope to survivors and their families. With the alarming statistic that 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, it is crucial that we work towards creating a future without breast cancer.
Three and a half years later, I am a breast cancer survivor, grateful for each day. I will never forget this journey; it has changed me forever, and has made me stronger. My wish is that my three children will enjoy a future without breast cancer, and look back on my time with breast cancer as a challenge that their mom faced and won.
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My family has had to deal with breast cancer on numerous occasions; having my mom, aunt and grandmother all diagnosed at different times in my life has made the disease all too familiar to me. Because of my strong family history of breast cancer I started having yearly mammograms at the age of 34.
When a routine mammogram indicated the need for a biopsy I knew I had breast cancer; although my doctor needed confirmation, I did not. I remember thinking how bizarre that I was going to be diagnosed when my mom was dealing with her second reoccurrence. I always knew the chances were high that I would be diagnosed; I just did not expect to hear the news when I was only 41 years old. I was not shocked or surprised but I was devastated; devastated to think that I may not get to watch my three children grow up or see them graduate from high school or university. What if I was not there for them when they had their first date, first broken heart or when they got married? Would I ever be a Grandma and hold my grandchild? I was heartbroken to think that I might not grow old with my husband. And how do you break the news to your parents knowing that your mother will feel responsible for giving you this disease. What if I have passed this on to my daughter or sons? These are just some of the emotions that I dealt with, along with all the decisions around treatment options I had to make.
With an amazing husband beside me all the way, the love of a wonderful family, great friends, and excellent medical support I was able to deal with all the emotions and challenges that breast cancer brings. This story has a happy ending; thanks to early detection and treatment I am a survivor.
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It will never happen to ME, I'm the strong one who looks after everyone else, yes, that was true for many years until one day.
Shortly after my 40th birthday, my Doctor suggested that I have a mammogram as a preventive measure, that suggestion saved my life. About 10 days after the "big squeeze" I received a call that a lump was found in my right breast. Two surgeries, 12 weeks of daily treatment at the cancer center, 5 years of follow-up medication and truly a life changing experience, I am happy to say I am cancer free.
Although I am ashamed to admit this, prior to having breast cancer I did not donate or purchase items from companies who donated percentages of their sales to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. But having experienced the treatment has made me realize that the generosity from organizations such as Eyewear Pink has made it possible for survivors such as myself to receive treatment from new technology provided by you.
A special heartfelt thanks to my darling husband, sisters and brothers who gave me strength and encouragement to get me through what I pray will one day be a thing of the past.
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