I was so proud and honored that so many women showed up and shared what was important to them and I will say we heard them loud and clear. The one faction that I wish I had thought about was including a man since men can get breast cancer too but it may have dampened the conversation flow too so I don't know. Concerns for mammograms for younger women were discussed and due to the breast tissue being denser at a younger age and cancer being dense, mammogram is not always a good tool. We also have MRI and Ultrasound though for screening when needed and it is important for all women to do self breast checks. Unfortunately we know that the younger women usually have a more aggressive cancer.
I also brought to the forefront, needs of men with breast cancer and although the numbers are low at this point we need to be proactive instead of reactive. There still is the false sense of security in thinking that we are safe since no one in the family has had cancer and again that is a a false sense of security. Typical issues circulated around costs, transportation, timeliness of testing and results and plans for treatment and surgery. In a nut shell, communication and education are still key elements.
I spent the weekend in Philadelphia with another participant ( another breast cancer survivor) at a breast seminar who is also a Reach for Recovery Volunteer and discussed what a person in Canada goes through when diagnosed. There are not liasons between hospital and treatment centers, there is not advanced education before treatment and usually only follow up after by Reach for Recovery and if you need Physical Therapy you have to put your name on a list and wait. You have your surgery and go home the same day and probably have a drain that you don't know what to do with and no exercises and no call point in case there are questions or problems. I am not from Canada nor do I know the accuracy of this all but am relaying what I was told. I think we are fortunate to have so many contingencies in our plans to help the person with cancer throughout the whole process from diagnosis to completion of treatment and although there are gaps and wholes, we are growing, learning, and helping those through their walk. I will keep you posted on next week's meeting and outcome but for now- Make it a great day!. S