Numerous observers have commented on the cultural prominence of breast cancer in North America. However, although popular and biomedical conceptions of cancer survivorship have been influenced to an inordinate degree by breast cancer, few researchers have examined the impact of dominant discourses on people diagnosed with other forms of cancer. Drawing on interviews with 32 Canadian men and women with a history of cancer conducted between 2010 and 2013, I demonstrate that breast cancer became central to their own experiences of cancer, providing an important lens through which to understand the effects of the disease. The effects of these comparisons were diverse, leading some participants to want to differentiate themselves from this implicit norm, leading others to downplay the seriousness of their own forms of suffering, and amplifying a sense of shame and stigma in yet others. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.