Early detection is your best protection

Cancer, it’s the leading cause of death in Australia and knows no impunity and is non-discriminate. We all know someone who knows someone who knows someone and so on.

Image courtesy of Daniella

Image courtesy of Daniella

Surfing the social media wave this week Sydney Mum came across this amazing story of Daniella, an inspirational woman sharing her very personal journey with breast cancer. She is on a mission and using Facebook as a launch pad, she has set a challenge to woman (and men) ‘in hope it will make other women aware of the importance of breast checks, self-examination and more importantly mammograms from the age of 40 years and above’.

Here are some facts:

  • The most common cancers in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, breast, colorectal (bowel), melanoma and lung cancer. These five cancers account for over 60% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia
  • 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • 9 out of 10 women diagnosed will have no family history of breast cancer.
  • Breast mammograms are free to all women over the age of 40, no GP referral required.

Daniella was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer which has resulted in double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hysterectomy, 100s of blood tests, invasive tests, lymphedema, reconstruction, blood transfusions, another reconstruction ‘using muscle and skin cut from my back for a dorsal flap reconstruction’ and another operation to go.

As she says ‘all this could have been avoided had it been caught early’. Presently she is 2 years out and has just had her last reconstruction with implants inserted which she is hoping will be it.

Not only has Daniella aimed The Mammogram Challenge at women but she also opens it up to men. Men you may ask? Men are susceptible although in smaller numbers, around 145 men were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 with 25 dying from it yet the cancer symptoms are the same. The lack of male awareness could be down to the stigma attached to men being reluctant to talk about their health and well-being and breast cancer seen as more of a woman’s disease.

What Daniella’s challenge is aiming for is this:

  • Go and have a mammogram and donate $5
  • The nominee has to nominate 3 or more friends for the same challenge.
  • If they don’t want to participate that is fine, but Daniella is asking if they would donate $20 to Breast Cancer Research BUT still nominate 3 or more other friends.

Obviously you can donate as much as you like, there is no limit. The more friends nominated, the more momentum will happen and so many lives could be saved.

It is crucial women and men are educated and made to feel comfortable enough they are open to talking about it and seeking help. As with all cancers it effects everyone – mums, dads, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons…

Checkout this awesome video Sydney Mum found – what a great tool to use for self-checking:

http://metro.co.uk/video/ad-uses-man-boobs-teach-women-cancer-1285276/?ito=vjs-link

If you seeking help or advice, please call or refer to Breast Cancer Network Australia,

Ph: 1800 500 258 or Cancer Council Australia, Ph: 13 11 20

Author: Emma McEnery

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