Stay one step ahead of breast cancer
By ED SOUTHON
TWO years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Murwillumbah's Judith Sutton says that there is no such thing as a "little cancer".
This fact hit home to Ms Sutton when complications arose after the removal of a tiny cancerous carcinoma from her breast, causing the onset of lymphadema, a condition affecting 20 per cent of breast cancer patients.
"I've had to wear a sleeve for 18 months after treatment because of the lymphadema, which is where the lymph doesn't flow around your body properly. It affected the right side of my body," Ms Sutton said.
Ms Sutton's carcinoma was no larger than a shrivelled pea when it was discovered during a mammogram, but it has caused her no shortage of distress, leaving her in the recovery stage for at least the next five years.
"Mine was a rare cancer but it was detected very early, so it was removed with a lumpectomy and then I had radiation and now for the next five years I'm on an estrogen-suppressant drug," she said.
"It's been a life-changing experience, but I want to get the message out to women they need to self-examine and also, because some cancers are too deep within the breast to detect with self-examination, have regular mammograms.
"The instruments the doctors have are able to pick up a carcinoma the size of a grain of rice. Mine wasn't much bigger and it was picked up.
"So women, have your mammograms, detect it early and survive."
Ms Sutton will be taking part in a fundraiser organised for October 22 by The Tweed Hospital and the Breast Cancer Network Australia in which participants will have breakfast at the Tweed Heads Bowls Club before going on a silent walk to Tweed Mall and back to Ebenezer Park behind the hospital where silhouettes of pink ladies will be planted to raise awareness for breast cancer.
"I'll be in the walk on behalf of the Tweed Brunswick Breast Cancer Support Group.
"I did it last year, so this is the second year for me," she said.
The event will also feature raffles and other fundraising activities, with all money raised going to the Breast Cancer Network Australia.
This is just the start of a big month for breast cancer awareness, with Pink Ribbon Day taking place on October 24.
For more information call Jane Kelly at the The Tweed Hospital on (07) 5506 7733.