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Be aware about cancer check ups

Breast cancer survivor Corrie Gardner with her husband John at their home in the Whitsundays.
Breast cancer survivor Corrie Gardner with her husband John at their home in the Whitsundays.

CORRIE Gardner knows how lucky she is to be enjoying life in the Whitsundays.

Corrie, 48, has lived in Cannonvale for five years but has spent eight months of the last 12 in Melbourne undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

With breast cancer awareness month starting tomorrow, Corrie has a simple message for all women: “Don't delay being checked. The earlier the detection, the better chance you have of survival.”

Corrie's cancer was missed when she went for a routine mammogram with Breastscreen Queensland in May 2009.

She was finally diagnosed six months later after insisting on an ultrasound as she was continuing to suffer from a sore breast.

By then, Corrie had a very large aggressive tumour.

Within days, she was on her way to Melbourne to see top breast cancer surgeon, Jenny Senior, who operated on Kylie Minogue in 2005.

Corrie knew her cancer was aggressive, she knew she had no time to waste and she wanted the best treatment possible.

She returned to the Whitsundays in June but knows that it may have been a very different story if she had not insisted on that ultrasound.

After extensive chemotherapy, an operation and six weeks of radiation therapy, she just wants to spread the word to other women to ensure cancer is detected early.

Corrie recommends that women who have detected any change in their breast should insist on the “triple test” as recommended by the National Breast Cancer Centre.

TRIPLE TEST

What tests do you need to investigate your breast change?

If you or your doctor have found a change in your breast, there are a number of steps to help find the cause of your breast change called the *triple test' approach.

The triple test includes:

1. Examination of your breasts and asking some questions about your change and your family history.

2. Imaging tests, which are mammography of both breasts and/or ultrasound pictures, particularly of the area of breast change, for review by a radiologist.

3. Fine needle aspiration biopsy, to obtain a sample of cells or tissue from the area of change for review under a microscope by a pathologist.

  • This information was provided by the National Breast Cancer Centre:


Breast Cancer Facts

NOTE This information was sourced from www.nbocc.org.au.

  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is a National Breast Cancer Foundation initiative supporting research into prevention and cure.
  • Pink Ribbon Day is on Monday October 25.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women, accounting for 28 per cent of all cancer diagnoses in 2006.
  • One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85.
  • There were 2,680 female deaths from breast cancer in 2007 along with 25 male deaths.
  • The risk of breast cancer increases with age. 
  • It is estimated that in 2006 there were 143,967 women alive who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous 25 years.

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