For the past two years, Hope & Cope has partnered with the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (QBCF) on the Breast & Bone Health Program – an innovative model designed to prevent bone loss in women whose cancer treatments have put them at high risk of developing osteoporosis (bone loss that can lead to pain, fractures and dramatically reduced quality of life).
On Friday, September 23rd, Nathalie Tremblay, President and Executive Director, Maxime Dumais, Vice President, Breast cancer Investment Programs, and Line Dufresne, Coordinator, Community Investment Programs, visited Hope & Cope’s main office at the Segal Cancer Centre to get a closer look at a plaque recognizing the QBCF’s generosity and to meet with those responsible for the program’s success.
“We are so pleased that our investment in this project, designed to improve the quality of life of women with breast cancer, is showing such great results,” said Mrs. Tremblay.
Physiotherapist Marize Ibrahim and nurse-researcher Garnet Lau run the program under the supervision of Hope & Cope’s Scientific Director, Dr. Carmen Loiselle. They begin by identifying women at risk for bone loss (osteoporosis) and offering them a thorough assessment, nutritional counselling and a personalized exercise plan. In addition to helping individual women, the goal is to develop, test and refine a model of care that can easily be replicated in other cancer and rehabilitation centres throughout Quebec. To date, 200 women have been enrolled in the program, which is supported by a generous three-year grant from the QBCF.
Awareness of the risks of osteoporosis due to breast cancer treatment, especially in younger women whose treatments have induced menopause, is critical, which is why the program is planning to develop educational materials for use across the province.
Also on hand for the plaque presentation were Dr. Gerald Batist, Director of the Segal Cancer Centre, Antoinette Ehrler, Associate director, Nursing, Suzanne O’Brien, Executive Director, Hope & Cope, Marcelle Kecman, Manager, Hope & Cope Wellness Centre / Lou’s House, Garnet Lau and Marize Ibrahim.
On behalf of everyone at Hope & Cope, Mrs. O’Brien thanked the QBCF for its support. “This is a partnership that benefits not only patients here at the hospital and the cancer survivors we are privileged to support, but that also has great potential to help women across Quebec. We are grateful to the QBCF for its generosity.”