Lucianne, Broome

Breast cancer champion

Please go and get it checked out straight away. I’m the case study for what not to do.

Lucianne’s story

Medial scientist Lucianne and her partner noticed a lump in her breast when she was in her early 40’s. While her partner tried to convince her to get it checked out by a GP, she dismissed the concerns. As someone who tested this kind of biopsies for a living, she had a gut feeling about what the lump was, but chose to do nothing about it due to an intense fear of having a biopsy taken. After 3-5 years, Lucianne noticed a pain her breast and again, due to what she described as a lack of courage, she ignored the symptom. Finally after about six months, the pain escalated to the point that she made an appointment with her GP to get her symptoms checked out. She had also been feeling extremely fatigued and actually thought it may have been a problem with her thyroid.

Lucianne’s GP was very concerned about the lump so sent her to the hospital the following day for an ultrasound. After the ultrasound results were analysed in Perth, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 46 in January 2019. Lucianne then underwent surgery and chemotherapy. She was told she wouldn’t have needed chemotherapy if the breast cancer was caught earlier, when she first noticed the lump.

Fortunately, Lucianne was able to stay at Crawford Lodge, Cancer Council WA’s home away from home for regional cancer patients. When she lost her hair, she took advantage of what she described as the ‘amazing support’ of the Cancer Council WA wig service. Through this period, Lucianne has valued the cancer nurses and the breast clinic in Perth. Her family in South Australia have supported her and her friends in Broome have taken care of her as she recovered from surgery and her first two rounds of chemotherapy.

Lucianne’s advice

‘No one will know you’ve gone to the GP, it’s confidential’.

‘Don’t be frightened of biopsies, they can be managed with pain relief’.

‘Link your GP appointment in with your shopping trip, be productive when you go into town’.

‘Don’t be frightened. Something I thought would be terrifying has turned out to be manageable’.

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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.