Sandra shares the importance of regular mammograms

Icon Writers / 11 Jul, 2023

Brisbane resident, Sandra is passionate about reminding women to keep up to date with their scheduled mammogram appointments.

“It really can save your life,” says Sandra.

The 68-year-old was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in March 2023 after a mammogram detected a lump in her left breast.

“It was tiny, only 1mm and it was located right on the breastbone. Right up until I had surgery, no-one could feel the lump because it was so small. Thankfully the mammogram picked it up, otherwise I wouldn’t have known it was there. I was feeling well and had no other symptoms. It shows the value of having regular mammograms,” says Sandra.

Sandra underwent a lumpectomy, followed by 15 sessions of radiation therapy at Icon Cancer Centre Redland under the care of radiation oncologist, Dr Dominic Lunn.

“Because it happened so quickly, didn’t have time to think about (having cancer). I received my diagnosis, then had surgery straight away and then the radiation therapy shortly after. When we started the radiation therapy planning at Icon, that’s when it hit me, and I started to get nervous. The team at Icon were wonderful in explaining everything and they put my mind at ease,” says Sandra.

Sandra finished her treatment in June.

“I got to ring the bell to mark my final treatment, which was a wonderful feeling. I adore the team at Icon Redland. They are all so beautiful. Everyone calls you by name and asks how you are doing. I know it sounds silly when you’re talking about cancer treatment, but the staff there felt like family to me. The centre is so close to my home and the treatment was always on time and over and done with quickly,” says Sandra.

Sandra celebrated the end of her treatment by enjoying a night of burgers and boardgames with her daughter and her daughter’s fiancé.

Sadly, Sandra is no stranger when it comes to dealing with cancer. In September 2020, she lost her beloved husband, John to prostate cancer.

“John went to the doctor to have a sore shoulder looked at, which he put down to an old rugby injury. He had a series of tests and they discovered he had advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to his bones. Apart from the sore shoulder, he’d experienced no other symptoms. It was heartbreaking,” says Sandra.

Sandra is grateful her cancer was detected early and successfully treated. She now plans to focus on her jewellery company and her 14-year-old bichon dogs, Snowy and Maggie. She also plans to spread the word about the importance of mammograms.

“One in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. We all know seven women, so if you don’t get it yourself, someone you know will. My story should remind women of how important mammograms are. The earlier (breast cancer) is detected, the better.”

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