Sheryl Shermak, an interdisciplinary doctoral student at the University of Victoria, is looking for participants for a study exploring the possibilities of living well with advanced breast cancer.
“When we talk about breast cancer, what are we are leaving out of the conversation? For example, did you know there are several types of breast cancer?
“And that the one that tends to be talked about the least is advanced breast cancer (metastatic and/or stage 4),” she said.
Advanced breast cancer used to be a disease that only had poor outcomes and that was primarily known as a palliative condition. Rapid new developments in breast cancer treatment mean there are more options available for women living with breast cancer, including advanced forms, she said.
“There is now a growing number of women who live many years with advanced breast cancer as a long-term chronic condition. One might even be so bold to say that there is an opportunity for a new form of breast cancer ‘survivorship’.”
In Central Vancouver Island, Shermak’s health-care study is seeking the participation of women who were diagnosed with advanced breast cancer at least two years ago and are not experiencing active health decline.
In other words women who are living relatively well with an advanced breast cancer.
Research participation will include two informal interviews, with options for further participation depending on interests and health of potential participants. The exact format and timeline of study participation is flexible as to meet individual participant needs, for example the length of each interview.
The research goal is to increase awareness and insights into the lives of women who experience advanced breast cancer as an ongoing health condition, an often hidden group of women with breast cancer.
Shermak is leading the study out of the UVic nursing department.
She has spent many years in community advocacy for breast cancer. Her general research interest is people’s experiences of living with chronic or ongoing forms of serious illness in smaller communities.
If you think you might be interested in participating in this research, you can learn more by contacting Sheryl at 1-250-886-4691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.