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Blogs

Breast Cancer Supportive Care

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, Sep 21st, 2016

breastcancersupport

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women, but the good news is more and more women are surviving. In fact, they’re living longer than ever with the disease which is why breast cancer is now considered a chronic disease. And in Calgary the Breast Cancer Supportive Care Foundation is there to support these women at any point on their cancer journey.

BCSC is a not for profit organization run by medical professionals. Medical Director Dr. Ardythe Taylor explains the care they offer is “like a step up from the family doctor and a step down from the cancer team.”

Brenda Ortlieb, a breast cancer survivor, says BCSC “was a godsend.” ¬†Brenda was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2013. She had a mastectomy and then four rounds of chemotherapy. She says after her mastectomy which she had at the end of June, both her family physician and her surgeon were on holiday when her pathology report became available in early July. Her friend recommended BCSC and Brenda met with Dr. Taylor for an hour to figure out her next steps, something Brenda says is “unheard of” with a physician. Brenda says her family and particularly her youngest son was struggling with her diagnosis, but Dr. Taylor met with Brenda’s son and then had him sit down with one of the BCSC psychologists who was very helpful.

There are a wide range of resources at BCSC including six family doctors, nurses, social workers, a psychologist and psychiatrist all with specialized training in dealing with cancer and its impact on patients and families. Many family doctors refer breast cancer patients to BCSC, but patients can also refer themselves.

The goal is to maximize each patient’s resources and supports in order to get best outcome possible.

And the best part is all these professionals are available to patients and their families for free.

The Breast Cancer Supportive Care’s annual fundraiser Fashion With Compassion is this Sunday at the Hyatt. Go here for more information.

Click here for more information on the Foundation itself.

September Spike

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, Sep 14th, 2016

asthma

Kids are back to school and cold and flu season is upon us. It’s the perfect storm for children with asthma. In fact, every year around the third week of September a recurring phenomenon occurs called the “September Spike.” This spike refers to an increase in emergency room visits, hospital and ICU admissions and unscheduled doctor visits all for the treatment of asthma.

Dr. Mary Noseworthy, the Director of the Asthma Clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital explains the common cold virus is one of the biggest triggers for asthma in kids and allergies can also prompt an asthma attack. So, Dr. Noseworthy encourages all families of children with asthma to have their asthma action plan ready, to make sure all medications are up to date and filled up, to ensure their children wash their hands regularly and get a flu shot as soon as it becomes available. Dr. Noseworthy wants to remind everyone that asthma can be very serious, even fatal, if it’s not controlled or prevented.

Lori-Anne Kochuk, an Asthma Coordinator with the Asthma Clinic at the ACH, says children can show symptoms of asthma for the first time during the September Spike. She says parents should watch for night-time coughing, coughing when the child wakes in the morning, shortness of breath, a child that’s easily fatigued and increased muscle use as the child struggles to breathe…. a pulling in of their ribs and bellybutton or a drawing in of the skin at the base of the neck under the chin. If the child has any of these symptoms parents should seek medical care right away.

Kochuk says HealthLink at 811 is a good option for children not having an attack and if the child is visibly struggling to breathe a trip to the ER is required.

Kochuk also encourages all parents of children with asthma to make sure to let their child’s teacher know their child has asthma and to make sure the teacher has the best contact information for the parent and the appropriate medications ready. Teachers are usually quite familiar with asthma…. one in 5 children in school has asthma.

For more information on asthma and how to control it visit this website. For more information on the September Spike go here.