You can do all the right things and still get cancer, so keep yourself in check. It isn't your fault or anyone else's when it happens. I was vegan for most of my life, was active with a normal BMI. I don't drink alcohol. I?ve never smoked. Be diligent with your self-exams. If something doesn't seem right, listen to your body. Get it checked out. I may not have lived if I had waited until I was 50 for my first mammogram.
Adrienne | Diagnosed at 43
While mammograms are the gold standard for checking breast cancer, they don?t always help. KNOW your breast density score (A, B, C, or D). Educate yourself. Additional screening may be required for C and D. You should always trust your instincts. The best advocate is YOU. If you feel something, say something. If you're not comfortable with something, ask questions, request second opinions, but do not be quiet.
Melanie | Diagnosed at 46
Even though I was considered high risk for breast cancer, it was hard to access medical care and regular screenings during the pandemic. As a result, by the time I was checked my tumour was 6.5 cm. I asked about a double mastectomy but was told there was no reason to remove a healthy breast. It turns out that I didn?t know the right words to use to advocate for myself.
Dianne | Diagnosed at 63
There is nothing that can prepare you?but to know one way or the other gives you power. Even if your mammogram comes back clear, if you feel a lump you need to press for more imaging. It took me two ultrasounds to find out. Persevere so you have choices with your health?.your future.
Naina | Diagnosed at 52
I was 45, with no family history of breast cancer. It wasn?t something I ever worried about, to be honest. I was lucky enough to have caught it with a mammogram during the kidney donation process. Please learn your body, self-examine and push for imaging if something isn't right.
Rebecca | Diagnosed at 45
I felt my lump at the young age of 29. Many women my age take their health for granted, but we can be affected by breast cancer too. If you find any lump at any age you need to get checked and demand imaging.
Camille | Diagnosed at 30
We are not at the mercy of the healthcare system. We have a voice and we need to use it. We can?t hide away or put our head in the sand. We need to demand screening. We need to show up for screening. We need to push back if a doctor says no, and not take no for an answer ? even if the truth is something that will absolutely terrify us. Because what we know about, we can do something about.
Ellyn | Diagnosed at 57
I am a trans man, married for 12 years to my partner of 20 years. In April of 2021, I discovered a lump on the right side of my chest. Since I still had large breasts (pre "top surgery"), my GP sent me for a mammogram. I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I was assigned a surgical oncologist, as well as various counsellors and they advised me that there were programs and services for trans folk who have breast cancer. Help is out there for you.
Spencer | Diagnosed at 50
I need members of my community to know that the traditional medicines that we often rely upon are not always enough. There is a time and place for everything, and that includes science and western medicine. Western medicine saved my life. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer but because of western medical treatments I have no evidence of disease today, and I?m still here to tell this story.
Sharon | Diagnosed at 52
Breast cancer doesn?t care. Not about your age, your race, your diet, or your history. Our community is being diagnosed with more aggressive cancers at later stages and at earlier ages. We have to advocate for ourselves. Get screened. Don?t accept no for an answer, and use your voice to fight for all of us as I?m using mine to fight for you.
Nadine | Diagnosed at 39
I am not lactating, breastfeeding, menopausal, perimenopausal, on the pill, pregnant, or even possibly pregnant. These were all on many questionnaires that I was handed when diagnosed. I want you to know that breast cancer can happen to anyone. I am a man living with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
Warren | Diagnosed at 53
I want young women specifically to know that breast cancer is not exclusive to those over 50. Young women can get it too. I was just 24 when I was diagnosed with Triple Positive Breast Cancer. So, please, if you notice a change at any age, advocate for your health! I did and it saved my life.
Robin | Diagnosed at 24
Trust your gut. I was given the all clear after my second follow-up mammogram, but I knew my breast didn?t feel the same. We didn?t know it at the time but I had a 5 cm tumor. Had I not spoken up about my breasts, who knows how long it would have taken to find that cancer?
Mina | Diagnosed at 44
Please don?t ignore your mammogram dates. I often wonder if I had gone earlier if it would have been caught earlier. I had my head in the clouds thinking it couldn?t happen to me.
Jennifer | Diagnosed at 71
Please, please take care of yourself! Don?t believe because you?re in your 40s that you can?t be affected. Check yourself regularly, make the appointments for yourself, be persistent, eat well, and exercise. Make your health a priority!! Don't wait for a diagnosis to make yourself a priority.
Kelly | Diagnosed at 40
I want you to know that if there is breast or ovarian cancer in your immediate family history, you have the right to be tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2, among other mutations. Do not be afraid of learning if you have a mutation. That information can save your life and change your family?s history for the better.
Masaya | Diagnosed at 40
I found a small lump in my right breast in the shower. It?s so important to do those self-exams. I made an appointment with my doctor. Turns out they found 8 tumours in my right breast. Under the age of 40, when women are not eligible for mammograms, self-exams can save your life!
Meagen | Diagnosed at 39
We must be vigilant with doing our self-checks and showing up for mammograms. I did a self-check and could see skin texture changes - like an orange peel and a slight indentation of my nipple. The doctor in emergercy, at first, was having a hard time seeing the drastic changes that I was seeing, based on my skin colour. I pulled out my phone and showed him the pictures I had taken. You have to be your own and loudest advocate. Early detection is key.
Karleen | Diagnosed at 30 & 52
It?s ok to challenge the healthcare system and fight for what you want. This is your body and your health! You have the right to ask for testing and to do what is right for your body.
Connie | Diagnosed at 40
The Indian community has a lot of pride and emphasis on their reputation and how they look to others. Please know that taking care of yourself and getting regular checkups is important. Having cancer is not something to be ashamed of. It is not anyone?s fault and sharing our journey helps educate women. We need to let go of the mentality that if we look the other way, then nothing is wrong. Breast cancer is not always genetic and the options for treatment are vast. It is not a death sentence.
Adeeba | Diagnosed at 32
You are in charge of your body, your research, and your health. As much knowledge and education as the people in your healthcare teams have, they don't know you or live in your body! Listen to your instincts and don't be afraid to advocate, or make decisions for yourself, even when they go against the grain! My doctor told me cancer isn?t usually painful and told me I was too young. You don?t have to accept it when they say, ?I?m sure it is nothing.?
Christella | Diagnosed at 35
Il n’y a pas d’antécédents de cancer du sein dans ma famille et je n’avais que 35 ans lorsque le diagnostic est tombé. Si vous êtes atteinte d’un cancer du sein, il faut que vous sachiez que vous n’avez rien fait de mal. Le cancer peut frapper n’importe qui, que ce soit des femmes heureuses, en bonne santé ou généreuses, et il n’y a rien que vous puissiez faire pour changer cela. La seule chose que vous pouvez contrôler est la manière dont vous réagissez à la situation. Vous avez ce pouvoir-là.
Stephanie | Diagnostiquée à l’âge de 35 ans
Get your exams done, regardless of how uncomfortable you may feel. Get to know your breasts, especially if you are young. Do your due diligence, learn and perform self-breast examinations. Catching things early, rather than late, can be a matter of life or death.If you find a lump, please don?t ignore it. Don?t fall victim to the belief that because you are too young or have no family history, it couldn?t be cancer.
Sheila | Diagnosed at 48
As a Deaf person, as a community advocate, as a mother and finally as a teacher, I want you to know that in spite of communication differences, it is always a good idea to explain to children what breast cancer is and how it is treated. With knowledge and understanding comes hope. Please don?t hesitate to ask for support to facilitate the conversation, if necessary, for instance through an interpreter, or a breast cancer advocate from your medical team and/or the community.
Lucia | Diagnosed at 41
Young women of colour are not represented when breast cancer is being discussed. It can happen to anyone, if you have breasts, you can get cancer. I was 35 years old, active, and healthy. I ate a balanced diet, worked out 3 times a week. Live your life to the fullest because it can change in an instant. Don?t be afraid of a mammogram! Women go through much worse things.
Christina | Diagnosed at 35
Not all cancers are seen on a mammogram or ultrasound. If you have concerns after a clear mammogram or ultrasound, push to have a biopsy or MRI. Trust your gut! I live in the present as best I can and I tell everyone ?I?m living my best life.? The biggest lesson I learned with cancer is to enjoy each day as a gift. To quote Snoopy, ?We only die once. We live every day!?
Christine | Diagnosed at 52
In our South Asian community, we don?t like to talk about ?women things.? But it's vital to be familiar with our bodies, to understand when you need to get routine exams, and be aware when things change. My mammogram initially came back completely normal but it turns out my dense breasts were masking the cancer. When I had a supplemental ultrasound, the results read ?sinister.?
Usha | Diagnosed at 29
It?s not just lumps to be wary of. It can be rashes, dimpling, itchiness...be aware of all changes. Breast cancer can still happen if you breastfeed. It can still happen if you live a healthy lifestyle. It can still happen if there is no history in your family. It can still happen?
Halima | Diagnosed at 51
It is very important to put yourself first and find time to do breast exams and go for mammograms. In the end, it affects your loved ones as well. Loving yourself doesn?t mean you love others less.Remember the airplane rule for parents? Fasten your seat-belt first and then your child?s.
Zaira | Diagnosed at 53
The only thing I can say to other women is just love yourself. Take care of yourself first. Be mindful about everything that happens in your body because when you are sick, you realize how lonely you are. The people you care a lot about are busy with their life. Any moment in your life, try to be happy, go to the gym, live your life.
Niki | Diagnosed at 47
Do your due diligence, check yourself! Do your monthly breast self-examination. If you feel something, say something. I never want you to go through what I went through. Early detection saves lives.