How New Options And Research Are Leaving Breast Cancer Out To Dry
Social Awareness In 1986, a group of determined women and men came together to change the face of breast cancer in Canada.
hey had seen too many mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends dying of the disease. Breast cancer was not openly discussed; women often hid their diagnosis and experienced the disease in profound isolation. There were no organized breast screening programs, so women were often diagnosed at advanced stages. Treatments were often invasive and debilitating, and fewer women survived. Moreover, there was no dedicated funding for breast cancer research. No longer willing to accept the current landscape when it came to breast cancer, this group of volunteers established the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation with the vision of reducing the stigma of the disease and directing funds to breast cancer research, health promotion, and advocacy.
True to that vision, today the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is the largest charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada. Since 1986, the Foundation has funded over $360 million in breast cancer research and scientific grants, and has become a leader in a community dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer. This work would not have been possible without the support and passion of committed volunteers, donors and partners. The Foundation has made great strides in terms of impacting the lives of people affected by breast cancer across the country.
The research funded by the Foundation has played a significant role in all aspects of the disease, including promoting a better understanding of how to prevent breast cancer and reduce risk; improving screening and diagnoses so that breast cancer can be detected earlier and diagnosed more accurately; understanding and improving treatment options; and leading the way with research into the social, psychological, and emotional aspects of cancer to improve quality of life during and after breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer mortality has been reduced by 44 percent since its peak in the mid-1980s and survival rates have increased to 88 percent five years after a diagnosis. This improvement is largely due to organized breast screening and advances in treatment.
Presently, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has begun another bold new chapter in its story thanks to its recent merger with Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support. The new, combined organization will touch on the full spectrum of breast cancer — from the laboratory and clinic where the latest innovations are developed, to direct patient peer support.
Since 1994, Willow has provided free-of-cost support, insight, and information to anyone affected by breast cancer or at increased genetic risk of developing the disease; the organization has long been a valued partner of CBCF. As of March 31, their support services, information, and education programs have merged under the CBCF brand.
The joining of the two organizations means CBCF will be a leader at every stage of the breast cancer continuum, with the capacity to address a range of needs related to breast health concerns, risk management, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, as well as the specific needs of those living with metastatic breast cancer.
Individuals can now call the new CBCF toll-free helpline at 1.888.778.3100 and speak with a Support and Information Team member — a woman who has personally had a breast cancer or high-risk diagnosis and is specially trained to provide practical information as well as compassion and understanding.
For more information on the Canadian Breast
Cancer Foundation and its research and support services, please visit www.cbcf.org.