We are your breast cancer movement.
What We Do
Rethink Breast Cancer is a Canadian charity known for making positive change and rethinking the status quo when it comes to breast cancer. Rethink educates, empowers and advocates for system changes to improve the experience and outcomes of those with breast cancer, focusing on historically underserved groups: people diagnosed at a younger age, those with metastatic breast cancer and people systemically marginalized due to race, income or other factors. We uplift, inspire and most importantly, rethink breast cancer to help people live better and live longer.
Read our 2022 Impact Report, here.
Rethink Breast Cancer is your breast cancer movement.
For 20 years, we’ve been known for being change-makers.
Rethinking the way we talk about the realities of breast cancer.
Educating, empowering, and advocating for those who are concerned
about and affected by breast cancer, helping them live better and longer.
Fostering spaces to connect, listen, empower and rethink breast cancer, together.
Discovering and collaborating to address unmet needs, building bridges with
the community’s voices firmly at the centre of our work.
With an impact that improves the experience of all in the ways that matter most.
And we’ll keep going, with you.
Why We Do It
For many young people who are busy building their careers, families and lives, breast health may not exactly be top of mind. We strive to dispel the myth that breast cancer is strictly an “old lady disease,” while taking some of the fear out of the conversation to bring breast health awareness to the forefront. Those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer may experience isolation as well as challenges with dating, sexuality, fertility, childcare, finances, employment and more.
Treatment and care issues include delays in diagnosis, generally more advanced cancers at diagnosis and higher mortality rates, low participation in clinical trials, lack of age-appropriate care, concerns around social support during cancer treatment, as well as late effects of treatment, second cancers and long-term psychosocial issues. Rethink offers age-appropriate support and resources for young people with breast cancer to make their experience a little bit easier.
The Rethink Story
At 22, after her mother passed away from breast cancer, MJ DeCoteau was hard-pressed to find relevant information that wasn’t scary and overwhelming about her own risk factors.
Determined but frustrated, she quickly began to understand why so many smart, young people were in the dark about breast cancer. Like her, they simply weren’t being targeted. This realization was DeCoteau’s call to action. By 2001, she had brought together a dream team of Canada’s most innovative, energetic and creative minds to found Rethink Breast Cancer, putting young people concerned about and affected by the disease on the map, for the very first time.
With a mandate to always seek creative ways to engage young people with the cause and help young women going through it, DeCoteau helped take Rethink from ground zero to 100 in year one when the charity secured the exclusive Canadian rights to the world famous Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign.
Approaching breast cancer with style was the new M.O., with Rethink leading the way. By 2004, DeCoteau was featured in Maclean’s Magazine’s Honour Roll as one of the top 10 Canadians making a difference.
Since then, Rethink’s small but dynamic team of dedicated staff and volunteers have continued to pave the way for the young women’s breast cancer movement, creating ground-breaking new resources, campaigns, events, and advocacy initiatives to bring much needed support and attention to the cause.