Cris, Broome

Breast cancer champion

Just do it. It should be a no brainer but we’re all busy and make every excuse.

Cris’s story

When Cris was 42 she was a busy single mum, working for a building company and living on the Gold Coast. She had noticed a small lump in her breast while showering though wasn’t concerned due to some information she’d read online indicating she was at low risk.

At the time, she needed a script for some medication and was told by the receptionist at her medical clinic that the wait time for a general appointment with a GP was one week. Cris mentioned she would also like to have a breast lumped checked and the receptionist immediately offered her a lunch time appointment that same day.

Cris’s GP sent her for a mammogram and an ultrasound before advising her to have a lumpectomy to remove the lump in her breast.  Cris was later required to have a second lumpectomy to remove larger margins around where the lump was. She then underwent radiation therapy and took tablets for further treatment. Initially Cris threw herself into her work and eventually moved to a Gibb River Rd community following a holiday in which she found the lifestyle incredibly therapeutic.

The second time Cris was diagnosed with breast cancer she was 55 years old and living in Broome. She had skipped a few routine mammograms thinking she was unlikely to get breast cancer again at her age, though eventually booked a mammogram as recommended. A call back recommended Cris have an ultrasound and a biopsy. The results indicated breast cancer and Cris opted for a double mastectomy. While Cris was in Perth for surgery and follow up she stayed at Crawford and Milroy Lodges, Cancer Council WA’s homes away from home for regional cancer patients.

Cris’s advice

“Just check it out, especially if you’re living in a remote area where medical appointments can be difficult to come by.”

“Just do it. It should be a no brainer but we’re all busy and make every excuse.”

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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 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 free screening at every opportunity and see your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker if you notice any unusual symptoms.