Natalia Mukhina, My Cancer Story

Because of research, I can share my story today – Natalia Mukhina

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I distinctly remember the feeling I had when I heard my diagnosis. It happened 7 years ago, the end of November 2011. I remember feeling a paralyzing fear so intense that I was unable to move or breathe. My mother and grandparents died of cancer, so somewhere deep in my mind, I admitted the possibility that I may someday develop a cancerous condition, too. But there is no way to prepare for cancer.

Within six months from the initial diagnosis, I underwent two surgeries, eight courses of chemotherapy, 33 sessions of radiation therapy and embarked on a course of hormonal therapy. It was a painful and challenging journey, yet it was also an excessively memorable and eye-opening time in my life. I am able to share my story today because of the work of countless researchers. I know how much work researchers have done in the past and continue to do to fight breast cancer. I live, work, and enjoy spending time with my family and friends thanks to their efforts to find a cure for cancer.

Breast cancer is insidious because at first there are no symptoms or warning signs. It happens quite often that women will accidentally find a lump in their breast that turns out to be malignant. I encountered such a lump, and it felt strangely different from what a simple cyst typically feels like. It was hard and did not move when pushed. It took me 10 minutes of browsing the Internet to know I had a reason to be scared. That is precisely how the sources I had looked up described the symptoms of breast cancer: “A suspicious cancerous growth is normally much stiffer than the background of normal tissue.”

I am sure you can understand how scared I was. After that, I had a mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy, which only confirmed that “yes, this is cancer, unfortunately.” My treatment began, and it would seem that I should have been even more frightened at the beginning of this long journey; however, with each step, I became calmer and more confident. I found my personal cure against fear: knowledge. It may seem surprising, but the more I learned about the details of my treatment, the more I understood that there are options, and my doctor is able to choose what suits me best.

I had my bit of good luck in meeting some excellent doctors. They always found the time to share their knowledge with me and answer my many questions. I found out that 50 years ago – around the time when my grandma underwent her treatment – oncology was a surgical branch of medicine because there were almost no medications for treating cancer. Oncologists were trained as surgeons. This was the situation all over the world throughout the 1960s and 70s. These days, modern oncology employs a multi-disciplinary approach where surgery is only one of the methods of treatment available to patients. In some cases, no surgery is necessary, because either the pills or radiation therapy will do the job. This all became possible because of research.

“You know who is an oncologist’s best friends?” my doctor asked me one day. – “Researchers. Just one example. We run the Oncotype DX test for breast cancer patients. This test allows to assess the recurrence risk in patients and helps us select the proper treatment course. It was unavailable just 20 years ago, but now we use it routinely. And the more versatile medications we physicians are able to use, the longer our patients live. And all of that is thanks to great research advancements.”

Natalia Mukhina, My Cancer StoryWhen asked how much cancer changed my life, I reply: “Very much. Significantly”. After completing my treatment, I became a cancer research advocate with a particular focus on breast cancer. Since then, I have written many news and blog posts on cancer research achievements. What I love most about this is having the opportunity to meet researchers and interview them. I can get all the information I need from them directly, and I can track in real time what is happening in this area. And significant things happen! In the last ten years alone, about 100 new treatment protocols have become available for breast cancer patients. Thanks to research, treatment is becoming more targeted and personalized, so more patients can benefit from these current protocols.

There is little wonder that my interest in research finally led me to the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Centre in Toronto, where I currently work, providing the investigators there with administrative support. It is true that the battle with cancer has not yet been won. Cancer is a smart and dangerous animal that has many faces, and more research is required to eradicate it. Fortunately, the more research we do, the better we understand cancer. And the deeper this understanding, the better practitioners can prevent, detect and treat cancer. I know this firsthand, as I see every single day how researchers work and the results they achieve.

I will forever remember a pep talk my doctor gave to me seven years ago: “You are cancer-free now. Be happy today and share it with your loved ones. Don’t put your life off for tomorrow or next year. People should just lose all fear and celebrate life, because we, the researchers and doctors, are working on a cancer cure, and we will come up with something, I promise.”

It is incredibly important to support research. Let’s donate to help researchers end breast cancer. In this battle, every contribution matters because it brings us a step closer to a cancer-free future for every patient.

Natalia Mukhina
Is a health journalist, reporter and cancer research advocate with a special focus on breast cancer.

Your donation to The Breast Cancer Society of Canada will help fund breast cancer research. Give today, help save lives by supporting life-saving breast cancer research because … Research Matters.

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A partnership with Breast Cancer Canada is a win-win. It improves employee engagement, boosts morale, fosters a tighter culture. It raises your organization’s profile and demonstrates your support for breast cancer research. To customers. To employees. To suppliers. Most of all – it makes a positive impact for those affected directly by breast cancer.

We’ll raise money for life-saving breast cancer research, together.

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Contact Charlene Politano today to get started.
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The more money we raise, the sooner we can end breast cancer. The more time researchers have in the lab. The more technology they can use. The more support we can get. Advancements in early detection and personalized treatment are in reach, and with your help to raise funds, we can find a cure sooner.

There are many ways to fundraise – whether you want to create a competition or tournament, fundraise with your team, challenge your colleagues, host a pink party, have a bake sale or cook-off, the idea is to raise more for breast cancer research.

Breast Cancer Canada will empower you with all the tools you need for a successful fundraiser, and if you need more information, contact Dawn Hamilton at: dhamilton@breastcancerprogress.ca  

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Support life-saving breast cancer research. A corporate donation is a simple and efficient way to demonstrate your corporate support.

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How to Sponsor

Thinking about becoming a corporate partner of Breast Cancer Canada? Amazing. work with all types of organizations. We’ll help you deliver results which are measurable. National or local.

A partnership with Breast Cancer Canada is a win-win. It improves employee engagement, boosts morale, fosters a tighter culture. It raises your organization’s profile and demonstrates your support for breast cancer research. To customers. To employees. To suppliers. Most of all – it makes a positive impact for those affected directly by breast cancer.

We’ll raise money for life-saving breast cancer research, together.

Let’s talk about building your program!

Contact Dawn Hamilton today to get started.
Email: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca
Phone: 1-800-567-8767 

To make an online corporate donation, please click here.

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Over the last 30 years, many generous donors have left a legacy to Breast Cancer Canada in efforts to advance breast cancer research.

No matter what the form of your gift, you will be remembered by your legacy which will live on through each of the lives you touch with your gift.

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Leave a legacy. Plan for a future gift.

  • Leave a gift in your will
  • Donating a life insurance policy
  • Donate a TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF

Support Breast Cancer Canada with a future gift to create a better future for breast cancer patients. Your gift helps to save lives through early detection and improve outcomes with better treatments.

or more information, please contact Natalina Hamilton: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca


LEAVE A GIFT IN YOUR WILL

This is often called a bequest. It’s the simplest way to make a legacy gift. A gift in your will has no effect on your current income and your estate receives a charitable donation tax receipt. Here’s a sample of simple bequest wording : “To pay the sum of $_________ OR _______% of the residue of my estate to Breast Cancer Canada.”


DONATING A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY

Life insurance is a way to provide financial security for your family. If the needs of your family are already taken care of, a life insurance policy is a smart way to donate to charity including tax savings for your estate. Speak to your financial advisors for your personalized advice and learn how a gift of life insurance can work for you. Here’s the top-line on ways of leaving gifts of life insurance:


Bequeath your policy to Breast Cancer Canada for the future:

  • Name Breast Cancer Canada as the beneficiary of your policy. BCC will receive your insurance proceeds tax-free. Your estate will receive a donation receipt.


Transfer ownership of a paid-up policy to Breast Cancer Canada now:

  • Want to gift us your existing, paid-up policy right now? Make Breast Cancer Canada the beneficiary and owner of your policy. You will receive a donation receipt for the fair market value of the policy. BCC may redeem the policy now, or hold it and receive the face value in the future – however your gift can be put to best use.


Transfer ownership of a policy on which premiums are still owing to BCC now:

  • Premiums still owing? You can still opt to transfer your policy ownership to BCC. You’ll receive a donation receipt for the policy’s fair market value. Want to make it an ongoing gift? Transfer the ownership to BCC, and still continue to pay the premiums owing. You’ll receive donation receipts for those payments too.


DONATE A TFSA, RRSP, RRIF

Register a significant difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer. Donate the proceeds of a registered account: Tax-free savings account (TFSA); Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP); Registered retirement income fund (RRIF). It’s a smart way to make a major contribution. Without reducing your current assets. Without subjecting the funds to probate fees. While reducing taxes on your estate through a donation receipt.

Making a gift like this is easy. Designate Breast Cancer Canada as the beneficiary of your registered account.  You benefit from the full use of your account(s) during your lifetime. We receive any remaining funds after your passing.

For more information, contact Natalina Hamilton: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca

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Individual Donor

When you support Breast Cancer Canada, you are helping to improve and save lives through better treatments and early detection of breast cancer.

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Gifting securities

Donating securities is becoming more popular, and supports Breast Cancer Canada just like cash donations. Gifts of publicly traded securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds) are an easy, tax-effective way to make a contribution towards life-saving research that helps with early detection, better treatments, and ultimately  Securities can be of any size and given immediately, or you can bequeath them to Breast Cancer Canada in your will. Just like a cash donation, you’ll get a donation tax credit for your gift of securities.

Today, most securities are held electronically and are easily transferred from your brokerage account to our BCC brokerage account. Your Financial Advisor can make all the arrangements.

For more information, contact Natalina Hamilton: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca

Send e-cards in memory or honour

Bravery is beautiful. That’s why we encourage you to make a donation in honour of a loved one’s own experience with breast cancer. With your donation, we’ll send a email to acknowledge the dedication to the individual or family.

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Corporate matching

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Fact: thousands of companies will match donations made by employees.

It’s true, and it’s very generous. Want to know if your company will match your donation to BCC? Use the search tool below. It also has access to all the forms, guidelines, and instructions you need to submit a company-matchable gift donation today.

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Support life-saving breast cancer research every month of the year.

 

When you make a monthly contribution to Breast Cancer Canada, you provide stable funding for year-round campaigning and allow us to continue to support research projects across Canada.

 

To join, simply pre-authorize a monthly deduction from your credit card.

  1. Online:  Donate Now
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Breast Cancer Canada, National Office
415 Exmouth Street Unit # 101
Sarnia, ON N7T 8A4

You will need to provide us the credit card type, number and expiry date, and the amount you would like to give each month.

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Volunteer

Volunteers are Breast Cancer Canada’s most important resource, and the backbone of our organization. From helping build our PROgress research to helping breast cancer patients, to supporting events, special fundraising projects and administrative tasks, our volunteers are dedicated to making a positive, life-changing impact.

We ensure our volunteers have the best possible experience and apply the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement.

You can help us end breast cancer by:

  • Volunteering with one of our fundraising campaigns. Or a BCC signature event
  • Helping with local community events where you live
  • Joining our PROgress research at a local hub
  • Assisting us with virtual office tasks

Learn more about our volunteer driven Regional Hubs.

Regional Hubs are an integral part of Breast Canada Canada. We connect communities and those committed to our mission to make the goal local. Together, we can save lives through advancing breast cancer research, coast to coast.

Connect to learn more about what is happening in your area: volunteer@breastcancerprogress.ca