Allyson, Albany

Breast cancer champion

Find the courage to deal with the symptom. Take your health into your own hands.

Allyson’s story

In early 2018, Allyson noticed a breast lump just below the surface of her skin on the edge of her areola. She took the time to visit her GP and discuss her concerns, though was advised the lump was likely a calcified mammary gland and nothing to worry about.

Around six months later, after Allyson been on holiday and had the time to think, she made another appointment with her GP. Again, her GP advised the lump was unlikely to be a cause for concern.

Over the festive season, a conversation with a friend prompted Allyson to once again take her health into her own hands. She visited her GP to discuss the lump for a third time and was advised she wanted to visit a breast clinic in Perth. With a trip in January 2019 already planned Allyson booked an appointment at the clinic and whilst there had an ultrasound and biopsy of the lump. Again, she was told again that it was unlikely to be serious though was later informed that it was a rare presentation of breast cancer and was diagnosed at age 48.

There didn’t seem to be any urgency, so Allyson booked in to have her lumpectomy when she was going to be in Perth next in March 2019. She then underwent 6 weeks of radiation therapy from May to June 2019. While undergoing her treatment, Allyson stayed at Cancer Council WA’s Crawford Lodge, a ‘home away from home’ for country cancer patients situated on the Sir Charles Gairdener Hospital grounds.

Allyson’s advice

‘Find the courage to put your health first’.

‘Don’t be frightened of walking into something that might take a bit of courage. Seize the day’.

‘If you find cancer early, you can actually walk away from it thinking it was an interesting hiatus in your life. If you don’t find cancer early, the cancer becomes your only story and you don’t get the opportunity to walk away’.

‘Cancer is just a season. It might feel like the worst winter you’ve experienced, but it will end. Spring, flowers and lighter days will come’.

‘If you find cancer early you can move forward and leave it behind. You have the choice and opportunity to create the life you want after the experience’.

‘There are so many organisations to hold you up until you can stand again. Cancer Council WA, McGrath Foundation and Breast Cancer Care WA are there’.

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Breast cancer screening

Breast cancer screening or mammograms are designed for women who do not have any noticeable symptoms of breast cancer.

If you do not have any breast cancer symptoms and you’re eligible, it is recommended you participate in the free breast screening program for women aged over 40 years.

Women living in regional WA can access the BreastScreen WA mobile service which visits almost 100 rural towns every two years, with some towns receiving visits annually. To find out when the BreastScreen WA mobile service is visiting your town, visit the BreastScreen WA website.

If you do have possible breast cancer symptoms, it’s highly recommended to see your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker without delay.

Remember, the earlier cancer is found, the better your chances of survival. So, make sure you participate in a free screening at every opportunity and see your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker if you notice any unusual symptoms.