IT’S something no one wants to hear from their doctor: the word “cancer”.
Cancer diagnoses, no matter what type, are life changing and distressing.
Cancer awareness has become an important topic for Australians over the last decade or so, led by groundbreaking campaigns about breast cancer which highlighted the importance of early detection in successful treatment.
Despite breast cancer being the elder statesman of health promotions, local author and Spearwood Alternative School teacher Jo Joyce says there’s still a big gap – many women over 40 don’t realise they can access free mammograms which can be a life-saver.
“I was diagnosed at 46, with no sign, symptom or family history,” Ms Joyce said.
“Diagnosis was through a regular screening mammogram with BreastScreen WA, which many women aged 40-49 are unaware they can access.”
Ms Joyce recounted her diagnosis, treatment and recovery in the memoir Show Us Your Tits: Baring All and Beating Breast Cancer which is being launched tomorrow, Sunday August 6 at the Chesterfield Lounge of the Bar Orient at 2pm.
She’s donating all the profits from the book and the launch to Breast Cancer Care WA.
The memoir is packed full of raw emotion, funny titbits (her own pun) and lots of pictures about her experience.
“The pink-fluffy media ribbon has been ripped off breast cancer, so to speak,” Ms Joyce said.
Following her own diagnosis, five years ago Ms Joyce launched a national campaign called Can at 40. Do at 45, to raise awareness about free mammography and to campaign for the invitation age to be reduced to 45, which is backed by BreastScreen Australia’s own data.
She says the campaign has saved lives.
“I am a primary school teacher and Kristie is a mother of children I teach.
“Kristie went along to her first mammogram when she turned 40, as she knew about my story and Can at 40.
“She was diagnosed – again without symptoms or family history – at this first mammogram and went through surgery and chemo, much like my experience.
“I am so glad that I got loud about this to friends and family because it saved Kristie’s life,” she says.
by ARIANA ROSENBERGY