When we hear that breast cancer has spread, it usually comes as a great shock. As you face this difficult time, we want you to know that there are many, many women living full and meaningful lives despite having breast cancer. A few women (and a man) have kindly offered their stories and messages in the hope that they will give you the inspiration to face your fears and to live your life with hope and determination.
You can click on a theme below. Each theme has two or three stories from women and men with breast cancer under it.
- Emotional wellbeing
- Family and friends
- Family history
- Diverse cultures
- Men with breast cancer
- Physical wellbeing
- Rural and remote
- Metastatic breast cancer
I hope that this hard, scary and lonely journey will result in me beating breast cancer, but I wonder...could it also be a journey towards belonging?
Jacqueline shares her experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer after recently settling into life in Australia.
I definitely don’t want to depress newly diagnosed women but I wonder if there really is anyone else out there that feels like me?
Leanne questions the many "scars" she's received from her breast cancer diagnosis.
Family and friends
Motivation comes when the benefits, and there are many, are truly realised.
Jenny talks about the important role friends play after a breast cancer diagnosis.
I found the activity and maintaining the friendships I had forged helped considerably to remain positive and energised during the course of my treatment.
For Shirley, being involved in her local sporting club reaped rewards throughout her breast cancer experience. Read her story here.
Mum doesn’t see what she does as extraordinary; she’d say she’s just doing what anybody else would do, but I know that’s not true.
When Marianne was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was 1700 kilometres away from her family. A week later, her Mum arrived on her doorstop, ready to support her every step of the way. Read Marianne's story of unfailing love and support here.
Don’t use that word ‘shame’; knock it off your shoulder.
After going breast cancer herself, Aunty Marg travels across Queensland advising Aboriginal women of the benefits of early detection and regular screening. Read her story here.
Breast cancer has made me realise how much I am loved and supported. The disease has turned my life into a new life direction and I intimately know that it is a full and rewarding life.
Thuong shares how her own breast cancer diagnosis lead to a meaningful career change.
Men with breast cancer
Eighteen weeks of chemo and five weeks of radiotherapy is a life experience that allows you to understand what others are going through.
Lionel tells of his experience with breast cancer, as a male.
Through the tears I managed to get out, ‘Now you look like me!’
Filomena's tells of how her husband Mick 'stood tall' beside her throughout her breast cancer journey.
In those dark moments when things aren’t so bright and the mask is off, he’s the person who ‘cops it all’.
Helen speaks of her 'unsung hero' - her husband Roger - and his support for some big life decisions post-treatment.
I developed confidence and an inner belief, knowing that if I put my mind and energy towards something, that anything was possible – even standing on top of the world.
As an avid mountaineer, Sharon's world was turned upside down after a lump she found in her breast turned out to be cancer. Here, Sharon shares her journey of conquering breast cancer - and Everest.
I think of myself as 55 years young, instead of 55 years old.
Christine shares her experience of exercise following a breast cancer diagnosis.
I am now embracing life again, feeling younger and happier.
Maureen tells us how she has learnt to love herself again following a mastectomy.
When I wear a bra I still feel very much a woman and feel I can show off this part of my anatomy.
Sandra says she doesn't need breast reconstruction after her mastectomy. Read why here.
I contemplated the ‘vanity’ of such an operation.
Ruth's new-found love of health and fitness post-treatment made her reconsider breast reconstruction as a surgery that isn't 'just for younger women'. Read more here.
Somehow every time I get a big cuddle from the baby the traumas of post mastectomy and pregnancy fade into distant memory as I feel grateful for this new life.
Stephanie found her breast cancer diagnosis confronting, but not nearly as confronting as the body issues she had faced during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Read why here.
Rural and remote
This was the first time in all my years living in the outback that I felt isolated.
Anne-maree talks about the challenges of living in a remote area with breast cancer.
I think I am very lucky to have such wonderful people I can turn to at any time.
Carmen was supported through her breast cancer journey by family, friends and the Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (PATs). Find out more here.
Metastatic breast cancer
People say ‘we’re all going to die one day’ but most don’t frequently have it on their minds like people with cancer do.
After living with metastatic breast cancer for ten years, Margaret reflects on the things she is grateful for in times of negativity.
I think the key to feeling good about your changing body, after breast cancer, or even as a natural consequence of ageing, is to focus on what it can do, rather than what it looks like.
Meg's metastatic breast cancer diagnosis lead to a mastectomy. Here, she tells us about how her surgery has made her move and feel better than before.
There is definitely life after a diagnosis of metastatic disease.
Michele shares how her love of travel has continued after her metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.