As we all know 1 in 10 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 80. It is the most common female cancer. So here are some helpful breast cancer prevention tips for you to consider:
Maintain a healthy body weight. Excess fat harbours extra oestrogen, which raises the risk of breast cancer.
Cut down on alcohol. Women should limit themselves to no more than one standard drink a day
Get active. Aim to do 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Check your breasts regularly, and see your doctor if you notice changes.
From the age of 50, go for a mammogram every two years.
Breast Cancer Survivors – Case Studies
Surviving breast cancer. Four women who have bravely battled the disease. At ﬁrst glance, these women don‘t appear to have much in common. They have vastly different lives, ages, backgrounds and interests. Yet they share an important experience: they’ve all had breast cancer. Here they share their personal stories.
Case Study 1 – I was only 22 when I was diagnosed
When I was 20, I noticed a lump in my breast. I had it checked by a doctor but he thought it was just hard ﬁbrous tissue, which is common in young women.
But at 22, I was away with my netball team, staying in a room full of girls with clothes everywhere, and one of my teammates said, Gosh, there’s blood in your bra. It was on the ﬂoor.
Later in the day, I took off the bra I was wearing and noticed there was blood in it too, When I found out I was in the very early stages of tbreast cancer, the world stopped for about four seconds. My oncologist recommended a mastectomy and reconstruction, but there was an option of a lumpectomy and radiotherapy.
To me it wasn’t a choice, life is so much more precious than a breast. But I remember having to tell friends and my boyfriend at the time that I had to have a mastectomy and it was so hard to say. I felt embarrassed, and I didn’t want people to think of me differently or think I wasn’t attractive anymore.
I have no family history of breast cancer; I’m a fit and active girl. It was just a freak occurrence.
Case Study 2 – Breast cancer made me a better person
Because my mum had breast cancer, I was having mammograms every year. But I never thought it would happen to me. I was ﬁt and healthy, with three wonderful daughters.
When I was diagnosed at 45 and the doctor asked what I wanted to do, I ran outside. I was afraid to tell my mother because I knew she’d blame herself.
After a lumpectomy and another operation to take more of my breast, I had a mastectomy. I was able to have a hormone treatment instead of chemotherapy and 1 had my ovaries removed too.
Here I am six years later, feeling fabulous. Breast cancer has tumed my life around and made me a much better person. I have reassessed everything, I have the best life and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I haven’t had a breast reconstruction and I don’t even bother wearing prostheses.
Case Study 3 – When cancer came back a second time I was really scared
When I was diagnosed. I had a partial mastectomy, lumpectomy. radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Two years later, it came back in my spine. I was really brave with the ﬁrst one. I thought, ‘Yes, l’ve beaten it.’ But when I saw the scan of my neck, I was scared.
I’m a country girl, so I had to go to a big city for treatment. It’s quite stressful being away from family. Country people are better off in some ways because they have a local community’s support, but it’s hard for them to go away for treatment. Often they can’t afford a hotel, so some people stay with friends and family or in caravan parks.
Having the cancer come back really made me unsettled and uncertain. The Statistics say if you get a secondary that comes back, it’s not a good prognosis, so that made me very unsettled. If you get a toe ache you think it’s gone to your toes. But about five or six years later, a nurse said to me: ‘Come on, you are cured’.
Case Study 4 – Having a baby after cancer was a miracle
I was 26 and just back from a vacation when I found a lump in my breast. My doctor sent me for a mammogram, but it didn’t pick up anything so she sent me for an ultrasound and then a biopsy. I wasn’t worried, I had no family history and I thought breast cancer happened to older people,
It was a slow-growing tumour, but my oncologist recommended aggressive treatment. After my lumpectomy and removal of my lymph nodes, l had to wait to ﬁnd out if it had spread through my body.
Deciding to have chemotherapy was a hard choice because it can affect fertility. I didn’t freeze my eggs because of the extra stress, so we prepared ourselves that we weren’t going to have children.
After my treatment, I went overseas with an aid agency to work with children in an orphanage, which was really rewarding. While we were there, my husband and I decided to try for a baby anyway. A month later I was pregnant. I’m loving motherhood. Every time l look at Katrina, who is seven months old, I think she’s a miracle.”