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Personal cancer story

Alison Newell

In the space of 22 days I was screened, diagnosed with breast cancer, received treatment and am now 100% cured.

Sadly, my mum passed away from breast cancer when she was in her forties and because of this I've been having yearly mammograms since I turned 30.

Alison Newell

In March 2016 I realised that it had been about 18 months since my last mammogram so I made an appointment. I hadn't felt anything unusual in my breasts and was feeling completely fine, so was expecting clear results. However, my GP told me that the test had detected abnormal cells in my left breast and that she was referring me to a breast surgeon.

Just a couple of days later I was meeting with the breast surgeon. I was in shock at how quickly this had all happened and with the experiences of my mum embedded in my mind, I was scared.

Biopsy results showed that I did have breast cancer, but in its very early stages. It's called ductal carcinoma in-situ. My doctor told me that my cancer was completely treatable. For me, with my family history, I was stunned. How can he have just told me that I had breast cancer, but then also tell me that's curable? It took me a while to get my head around this.

The following week, in mid-April, I had a hook wire insertion and lumpectomy. These operations sound really scary and painful but they weren't at all. The surgeon came to see me after the operation and told me that everything had gone really well and that the cancer was all gone. I had no pain whatsoever and felt amazing. While I stayed in hospital overnight, I would have been fine to have gone home that same day. I had two weeks off work to help with my recovery, but since the day of the operation, I have had zero pain. If it wasn't for the scar I have on my left breast (which is about two to three inches long), I wouldn't believe that all this had happened. I will undergo just one single dose of radiotherapy to complete my treatment, then I don't need to see my surgeon for another year.

‘Cancer’ can be a very scary word, and when I was told that I had cancer I was definitely scared. But thanks to early detection, I knew that I was going to survive. The doctors and nurses in Australia are the best in the world and I feel extremely privileged to have receive excellent quality of care in a short space of time.

I would like to share my story because as a mother of two daughters (one 18 and the other 10 months), I feel that it's really important to promote early detection by encouraging women to become familiar with the regular feel of their breasts and participate in the screening programs that they are eligible for. I also think it's important for people to realise that being diagnosed with breast cancer doesn't necessarily have a bad outcome if it's found early.

As a survivor, I am passionate about getting involved in fundraising and cancer awareness. Here I hope to raise both awareness and funds for cancer.

Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer