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Shifting Our Focus: How Canadian Health Systems Can Better Care for Patients with Rare Forms of Breast Cancer

Ottawa, ON – July 21, 2023 – Despite enormous advances in diagnosis and treatment, breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Canadian women – and their second-leading cause of death from cancer. Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), accounting for approximately 15% to 20% of all diagnosed breast carcinomas, is a specific subtype that is recognized as being notoriously aggressive and extremely challenging to treat. Patients with TNBC and other rare forms of breast cancer face greater challenges in accessing treatment and navigating the health care system.

Also important to consider in examining TNBC is the health equity concerns surrounding the diagnosis. We know that TNBC has a disproportionate impact on a select set of patients — in particular, women under 40 and Black women.

Looking to better understand the perspectives of patients with TNBC, the physicians who treat them and the organizations who advocate on their behalf, Santis Health conducted qualitative research and produced a white paper with the results, Shifting Our Focus:  How Canadian Health Systems Can Better Care for Patients with Rare Forms of Breast Cancer.

Anchored by the stories of eight individuals, this report attempts to capture the unique challenges faced by Canadian TNBC patients and present a set of recommendations that would address the massive unmet need that rare breast cancers represent.  

This report is available for download in English and French.