Breast Cancer Survivor Determined to Help Others
In August of 2015, 46-year-old Trish Fuss received news that changed her life forever. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I felt my own lump and I knew something was wrong as it was very hard,” Trish said.
“I had a needle biopsy which came back clear, but then I noticed a physical change and went in for a mammogram and a core biopsy under ultra sound. It was during the ultra sound that specialists found what they thought was a secondary lump, but it was the bottom end of my breast cancer tumour. That’s how big it was.”
Diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, as Trish’s cancer had already moved into one of her lymph glands, doctors advised the best course of treatment was chemotherapy before surgery to remove the tumour.
“That was hard to digest, I wanted my cancer out of there straight away,” Trish said.
“My first round of chemotherapy was very hard, and I wanted to give up after that. I didn’t believe I was strong enough.
“I lost my sense of taste, and those types of things, but I knew it was all temporary and that’s what got me through.”
Despite this, Trish considers herself one of the lucky ones. After eleven rounds of chemotherapy, where she lost all feeling in her hands and feet, doctors couldn’t find the cancer in her lymph gland anymore meaning her body responded well to the treatment.
Her next step was surgery in February 2016, where she received the all clear from her surgeon that the entire tumour had been removed. Trish had already started on a treatment for 12 months called Herceptin, which thanks to breast cancer research has been available to patients for over a decade.
“I was very lucky that my body responded well to the chemotherapy treatment, not all people respond as well.”
Research supported by you through Australian Breast Cancer Research is aiming to find new treatments to help people who may not respond to current treatments like Trish.
“I was also fortunate that my cancer was one of the ‘nicer’ ones and I had targeted therapy available to me through Herceptin. Thanks to incredible researchers working hard in their labs we have access to brilliant treatments like mine which are targeting the many different forms of breast cancer, but we still need more.
“If I didn’t respond well to my treatment, I don’t know where I would be right now.”
Now armed with a passion to support local breast cancer researcher’s work towards a prevention and cure for the disease, Trish also wants to raise awareness on the importance of women of all ages being breast aware.
“I know now more than ever that we need researchers to keep fighting this disease, but we as a community need to help them do this.
“My daughter now regularly sees her General Practitioner, and she is in the high risk category. I’m determined to educate our children about what breast cancer is, how it’s not a disease that only affects women over 50 years of age. I believe this education will lead to younger people giving to research because they are learning more about the prominence of breast cancer.”
Your support of breast cancer research makes sure life-changing treatments are available to people like Trish when they need it most. Now Trish is a breast cancer survivor, and she is confident research will continue changing the outcomes for women diagnosed in the future.