Time to squeeze the boobs

October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Sally Obermeder is a woman I have admired for sometime in both life and business / career. I had a huge desire to interview her Saturday at the Business Chicks conference 9 to thrive before her time on stage but was saddened to see something had happened to her daughter and of course I completely understand how a mother feels in those times so left her.

I wanted to share with you all her story as a reminder to check your boobs this month, October, Breast cancer awareness month !!

Sally was 41 weeks pregnant with her first daughter Annabelle when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Only 10 days after her daughter was born, Sally started eight months of intense chemotherapy. She was only able to endure one mastectomy at a time because she was so weakened by the treatment.

“For six months I had one breast,” Sally says to Mamamia in a recent interview. “It was awful.”

After further radiation therapy, her other breast was removed and the reconstruction process began. While many women opt for implants, Sally was warned against that option.

“[The doctors] were worried that if the cancer came back and I needed to go back into treatment, they didn’t want my body to reject the implants and for there to be a reason for me to need more surgery,” she said. “Chemo and surgery don’t go well together.”

She then had TRAM flap surgery, which involves the removal of muscle in your lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast.

“They take all the tissue from your stomach and, in my case, from my back…and they use it to build your breasts,” Sally said on No Filter.

“So they basically make your breasts out of real tissue.”

Sally is now in remission 5 years on and welcomed her second daughter Elyssa by surrogate this year.

Let’s take the time today to check out boobs !! Cancer Australia gives us the following guidelines :

Changes to look for include:

  • a new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast 
  • a change in the size or shape of your breast
  • a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • a change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.

Live well. Cass xx

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