Breast cancer is not a death sentence

AT 54, Julie Kelly knows she is%living on borrowed time. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2002, which affects only 20 per cent of the sufferers, doctors told the mother of five and grandmother of eight she only had a few years to live. "I found a lump in my left breast in 2001," Mrs Kelly said. "I had a lumpectomy and radiation, but by 2002 the cancer had spread to my liver and lungs." Doctors, she said, gave her two years if she undertook an aggressive treatment as part of a clinical trial. "Five years later I am still here and I have a good quality of life," she said. The West Tweed Heads resident credits her survival to the new drug Herceptin. "There is new treatment being discovered all the time," she said. "It is not a death sentence any more. "You can live a good life." And to further spread this message of hope, Mrs Kelly will address the Breast Cancer Network Australia's (BCNA) Mini-Fields of Women to be held in Knox Park, Murwillumbah later this month. On the day, 100 pink lady silhouettes representing 13,000 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer this year will be planted. Participants will be encouraged to leave a message by sponsoring a silhouette, with all the money donated to BCNA. Not being a public speaker, Mrs Kelly said she was not looking forward to being on stage. "I made a deal with the devil, if I clear the five-year mark, I will do the talk," she said. Tweed-Bryon Network Breast Care co-ordinator Jane Kelly said women like Mrs Kelly were an inspiration to other cancer patients. "Peer support is really important," Ms Kelly said. "For some patients, events like these are less confronting than walking into a support group." Mrs Kelly urged the Tweed community to donate money to cancer research. "I am confident scientists will discover a cure in the next 20 years, but whether I'll be here I don't know." Breast Cancer Network Australia's Mini-Fields of Women will be held at the Escape Gallery, Murwillumbah on October 20. For information contact Jane Kelly at 07 5506 7733



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