June is a passionate advocate for breast cancer screening

Icon Writers / 25 Aug, 2023

Perth resident, June is all too familiar in dealing with breast cancer.

The 69-year-old lost her sister, Pam to breast cancer seven years ago.

June’s husband, Ivan also lost his mother and sister to breast cancer.

In April this year, June was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer after a mammogram detected a lump.

June underwent surgery in May followed by 16 sessions of radiation therapy at Icon Cancer Centre Midland under the care of Radiation Oncologist, Dr Eve Tiong.

“It was a difficult time for the family. I understood the heightened risks because of my family history but I was still in disbelief in the beginning. Ivan and I didn’t want to worry our three daughters. We told them it’s stage 1 and it’s not in the lymph nodes, which means it was detected early. I didn’t want them to equate my diagnosis to my sister’s diagnosis,” says June.

June says throughout her cancer diagnosis and treatment, Pam was often in her thoughts.

“I wasn’t scared, as I had Pam to compare to and she had stage 4 breast cancer. I knew my diagnosis wasn’t a bad one and that there are many people in worse positions than me. Despite Pam’s dire diagnosis, she always remained positive and I admired her for that. I wanted to remain positive as well,” says June.

June ringing the remission belt at Icon Cancer Centre
June ringing the remission belt at Icon Cancer Centre

June says the care and support she received from Icon Midland staff, particularly Cancer Care Co-Ordinator Ian, were invaluable throughout her treatment.

“The staff at Icon were very kind, compassionate and professional. I had an hour round trip each weekday for 10-minutes of radiation therapy but it was worth every minute as it’s lifesaving treatment. Ian was great, he’s a lovely man and he’s very knowledgeable. I got radiation burn under my arm and Ian gave me advice on what to use. Ian always took the time to see how I was doing and he was able to answer all of my questions. That support is really helpful during treatment,” says June.

June finished her treatment in July and was able to ring the bell to mark her final radiation therapy session.

“During cancer treatment, your whole life revolves around that schedule. Ringing the bell on the final day meant the commitment that we had each day was gone and we could get on with life,” says June, who wants her story to serve as a reminder about the importance of breast cancer screening.

“You can get breast cancer at any time. It’s important that all women, even younger women, are aware of the risks. I strongly encourage women to have their breasts checked, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer.”

June is now planning to celebrate her 70th birthday in October surrounded by family and friends.

“It won’t be an over-the-top celebration, just a BBQ at home with the people I love,” says June.

“I’m grateful I’m here to celebrate the milestone.”

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