Cancer survival
Breast Cancer,  Women's Health

Advocating for Yourself During Breast Cancer

Every woman’s journey with breast cancer is unique, much like a fingerprint, no two are the same. From the moment of diagnosis, there’s an overwhelming surge of emotions – anxiety, fear, bewilderment. Many of these sentiments originate from feeling a loss of control, feeling at the mercy of a relentless healthcare system.

Despite the terrifying prospect, being in control of one’s healthcare has never been more crucial. Advocacy isn’t just about presenting your case to the doctors, it’s about being aware, informed, and actively participating in your health decisions.

One thing I would emphasize is the indispensable power of information. When I first heard of my cancer diagnosis, the landscape of information felt like an unfathomable minefield. I realized early on that fear often stems from not knowing. Knowledge doesn’t just power our decisions, it brings a semblance of control in what otherwise feels like chaos. Not to suggest that we disregard the medical advice from our doctors, they are invaluable, but it’s essential not to feel estranged from it. Your treatment plan isn’t a readymade product, it’s customizable, and tailored to you.

One of my revelations has been the power of communication. As much as it rattled me, sharing my fears, my journey via various platforms played an instrumental role. It provided me a way to not just vent my emotions but take control of my narrative, helping countless others in the process. This is whyI shared my story through my book “Flat Please”.

Support, likewise, is a mighty weapon. I trusted a personal support group, friends who had braved the same sea. A sense of community can be a great leveller against isolation, fear, and insecurity that often accompanies cancer diagnosis.

One aspect that deeply affected me was how my physical self would be perceived post-surgery. It isn’t a trivial concern; it is very much a part of the journey. Every feedback, and every side glance can shape or shake our confidence. Being prepared and being proud of our changed self helps. A full recovery isn’t just physical, it’s psychological too. The journey is as much about healing our minds as it is about our bodies.

The battle to regain control begins as soon as women embrace their fears. Advocacy steps in to weave its magic right then. It’s a winding road filled with challenges at every turn, however, a well-navigated strategy boosts our chances of survival. Embrace your journey, toe its line, carve it the way you deem is right for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all in this battle against cancer. It is as unique as us women, beautiful in our ways.

Remember, you don’t just survive breast cancer; you live through it. It isn’t about checking off milestones in a checklist. It’s a beautifully unique journey, right from its tumultuous onset to reaching some sort of end conclusion. Every step teaches us something, either about our physical self or our emotional resilience. It allows us to rewrite our story, and we owe it to ourselves to be the beautiful warrior we are, blazing through our path. So, advocate for yourself. Your story also has the power to inspire.

Ellyn Winters-Robinson is a breast cancer survivor, entrepreneur, author, in-demand speaker, women’s health advocate, professional communicator and a globally recognized health rebel. Ellyn's best-selling book "Flat Please Hold the Shame," is a girlfriend’s companion guide for those on the breast cancer journey. She is also the co-creator of, the world’s first conversational AI companion for those on the breast cancer journey. With Dense Breasts Canada and award-winning photographer Hilary Gauld, Ellyn also co-produced I WANT YOU TO KNOW, a celebrated photo essay showing the diverse faces and stories of 31 individuals on the breast cancer journey. Ellyn’s story and have been featured in People Magazine, Chatelaine Magazine, the Globe and Mail, CTV National News and Your Morning, and Fast Company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *