Breast Cancer Awareness Month & Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Throughout October, The Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) will be hosting events and sharing resources that empower women with the knowledge and information they need throughout their cancer journey.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in Canadian women, affecting around one in eight. The Peter Gilgan Centre is working to ensure that every woman has the chance to gain access to the highest standard of care in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship for women’s cancers – no matter where she lives.

Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day

Bra Day - Breast Reconstruction Awareness. Virtual Event, October 19, 2022.

On Wednesday, October 19, 2022, The Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers in partnership with The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and with generous support from The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Allergan Aesthetics and Mentor are hosting this free three-hour event for women considering breast reconstruction.

BRA Day is intended to EDUCATE women on their breast reconstruction options (including flat closure), provide an opportunity to see possible outcomes of breast reconstruction surgery, EMPOWER women to make the choice that’s right for them and CONNECT women with others who have been through it.

The virtual event is open to women and men across the country and will include presentations from leading Canadian breast reconstruction experts, stories from patients sharing their breast reconstruction journey, resources and a virtual Show and Tell Lounge, offering a unique opportunity to see real results of breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is covered by most health insurance plans in Canada.

Breast reconstruction is recognized by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) as an important part of breast cancer treatment. As such, OHIP covers all aspects of breast reconstruction including the costs of surgery, breast implants, hospital stay (if needed), nipple areolar reconstruction and most balancing surgeries on the opposite breast if required.


BRA Day 2022 is generously sponsored by:


“I love the concept of this event and think it is extremely important for patients to have this venue. I am in health care and therefore may not have learned as much as those without that surgical background but think it is so important for all, including me. It builds a sense of belonging. I am very thankful for having had the opportunity and for everyone’s time and consideration in putting this together in these very strange times of COVID-19! Thank you to all!!!”

“This event is amazing. BRA Day shares information I can’t find anywhere else and does so in an extremely supportive, open and unbiased way. I truly cannot say enough about this event and tell everyone I know about it. Thank you for your dedication.”

“The virtual format was so convenient! It was great to be comfortable at home and navigate smoothly between sessions. I really liked the Show and Tell Lounge. Great people and nicely moderated.”


BounceBack® is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. 

The After Cancer Treatment Transition (ACTT) Clinic at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) conducted a study to examine the impact of BounceBack® (a virtual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based telephone coaching program), on depression, anxiety and fear of recurrence (FOR). This study was recently published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

Through the ACTT clinic at WCH, eligible participants were identified, consented and referred to the BounceBack® program. Program participation involved the completion of self-selected online workbooks and support from trained telephone coaches. Measures of depression, anxiety and FOR were collected at pre-intervention and post-intervention (6-month and 12-month time points). The study revealed that measures of depression and anxiety significantly improved among participants from pre-intervention to post-intervention.

Breast Cancer & COVID-19

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) launched a ‘Cancer and COVID-19’ webinar series to offer support and information to people with cancer and their caregivers, family and friends. Each webinar is presented by an expert speaker and addresses a key question about managing cancer needs during COVID-19. Please click here to watch the individual webinars.

For more information about breast cancer services at WCH during COVID-19 and tips for coping with a cancer diagnosis, please download this resource (.pdf).

If you are due for breast cancer screening, please speak with your primary care provider. Health care sites have implemented a number of measures to prioritize patient safety during COVID-19. If you have never been screened or are overdue for a screening, or were previously told to get a mammogram every year instead of every two years, it is especially important to book an appointment. Please click here to learn more about cancer care during COVID-19.


The Screen Project

The Screen Project is a Canadian National initiative to make BRCA1 & BRCA2 screening available to all Canadians over 18 years of age at an accessible price. As part of The Screen Project, you will also help our team of researchers at the Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit evaluate the benefits of population-based genetic testing. We hope that our study will reduce the mortality from breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers. To learn more about The Screen Project, please visit

a variety of people stand together and smile for the camera

A Study of Familial Breast Cancer in BRCA Mutation-Negative Families: Women with a strong family history of breast cancer, but no BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, are two to four times more likely to develop breast cancer than women without a family history. Despite this elevated risk, no clinical guidelines have been developed for the care of these women. This study evaluates factors which may influence their risk.

Breast Cancer Treatment in Women with PALB2 Mutations: The Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit at Women’s College Hospital is conducting a research study to better understand breast cancer treatment among women with a PALB2 gene mutation.

Cognition in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers: We are currently recruiting individuals to participate in a study investigating the effects of prophylactic oophorectomy (surgical removal of an ovary or ovaries) on cognition over a three-year period. The purpose of this study is to evaluate possible changes in memory and attention and to determine if there is any correlation with another gene, apolipoprotein E (APOE).

Follow-up Telephone Genetic Counselling Study: This research study aims to evaluate a follow-up telephone-based genetic counselling intervention for women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation who have received genetic counselling in the past.

Rapid Genetic Testing for Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients Phase II: This study provides genetic testing for nine genes associated with increased risk of breast and other cancers free of charge to participants. Test results are available quickly, with a testing turnaround time of 5-12 days, and all results are disclosed to participants by a genetic counsellor.

Reducing the bUrden of Breast cancer in Young women (RUBY) Study: This study is a pan-Canadian collaborative comprised of a national network of 62 researchers and clinicians at 44 institutions and clinics across Canada, with the common goal of studying breast cancer in young women.

Risk Factor Analysis of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: This is the largest long-term study of women who carry a mutation in one of the two breast cancer genes (BRCA1/BRCA2). Its purpose is to better understand the prevention and treatment of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

The Screen Project: The Screen Project is a Canadian National initiative to make BRCA1 & BRCA2 screening available to all Canadians over 18 years of age at an accessible price. We hope that our study will reduce the mortality from breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers.

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