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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER WHEN IT COMES TO BREAST CANCER

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Parminder Punia and her daughter Anjali
Left: Parminder Punia / Right: Parminder Punia and her daughter Anjali

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – which offers a timely opportunity to shine a light on an organization determined to end the disease. Breast Cancer Canada is a national charity that is laser-focused on one thing: saving lives through science.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Treatments for breast cancer are more effective and are better tolerated when started early.

Parminder Punia of Brampton, Ontario, has heard the words “you have breast cancer” and knows what it’s like to have her life changed forever. In August 2021, at the age of 46, Parminder felt a lump in her right breast. After weeks of exploration and tests, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. If routine screening had been accessible to Parminder at age 40, her breast cancer could have been caught earlier, before the disease advanced. Parminder is passionate about advocating for better breast cancer screening for women in Canada, especially those with a family history of the disease, like her daughter, Anjali.

“Unfortunately, my cancer was more developed and had spread to my lymph nodes. It was a diagnosis that I never expected. It turned my world upside down,’ said Parminder Punia. ‘I can’t stress the importance of routine mammograms enough. Screening detects breast cancer in its very early stages, ahead of a lump or other symptoms.”

In recognition of patient voices like Parminder’s, Breast Cancer Canada has announced the launch of PROgress Tracker. This national, first-of-its-kind knowledge registry will collect experiences from people with breast cancer over the next 10 years. The intention is to use the data to inform policy and future breast cancer management, like lowering the age of routine breast screenings.

Kimberly Carson, CEO, Breast Cancer Canada
Registrations are now being accepted from those who have (or have had) any stage of breast cancer. Participants can join the study anytime during their journey and share their experiences by completing online surveys. The data will provide missing information needed to improve Canadian breast cancer care. To join PROgress Tracker, register online at progresstracker.ca.

“Canadians are asking for more breast cancer data, and there is a clear need to address the lack of information available. Through a patient-centred approach, PROgress Tracker will guide the development of new interventions directly impacting breast cancer care,” said Kimberly Carson, CEO of Breast Cancer Canada.

Breast Cancer Canada’s mission is rooted in the power of knowledge. To explore their dedication to progress and innovation or donate in honour of breast cancer awareness month, please visit breastcancerprogress.ca.

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