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Celebrating An Important Milestone For Ailsa

Ailsa is the first woman on her mum’s side of the family to reach 45 years old, cancer free!

Ailsa Borwick cropped

Ailsa Borwick recently reached a milestone worthy of a celebration. She’s the first woman on her mum’s side of the family to reach 45 years old, cancer free!

Her mum unfortunately lost her life to breast cancer at just 44 years old and outlived her mum, who passed away of the same disease in her late 30s.

“Being the first woman to reach 45 in my family is a big deal for me and I just wanted to celebrate life. I planned my 45th birthday with 70 of my close friends and family at one of our local establishments here in Canberra,” Ailsa said.

“It was perfect timing as our lockdown had just lifted so everyone was excited to catch up and do something fun.

“It was clear everyone understood this was an important milestone for me.

“I didn’t ask for gifts, I’ve got everything I need, so I asked people to donate to Australian Breast Cancer Research (ABCR) and we ended up raising over $500.”

Keeping on Top of Her Health

Losing her mum when she was just 12 years old, and given her family history, Ailsa has been proactive with her health and even began genetic counselling in her late 20s.

Genetic counselling helps individuals and families with a strong family history of breast cancer. Experts provide information, resources and support, as well as helping to make informed decisions about genetic testing for cancer genes and mutations.

“I see a really good General Practitioner who treated my mum many years before. She was the one who referred me to genetic counselling,” Ailsa said.

“I’ve worked with ACT Genetics for almost 20 years. They’ve done everything from the beginning. They know my family history and understand my risk,” Ailsa said.

“They are the people who guided me to get regular checks and mammograms since I turned 30 and are a great support network.

“After each test I come home and tell my husband and kids I’m cancer free for another year. That’s an important thing for me. It’s also helped me to stop worrying about it like I used to.

“I’m lucky I get looked after very well with this counselling compared to what my mum and grandmother went through. The level of awareness, support and survival rates have improved dramatically since they were both diagnosed.

“For me, that’s what it’s all about.”

Ailsa has a young son and daughter and believes it’s important to keep the conversation open about her family history.

“For me, cancer wasn’t spoken about with my mum so with my kids it’s all about awareness. Cancer took a lot away from me and I don’t want it to take me away from my family,” Ailsa said.

“We’re so lucky to live in a time where treatments and knowledge are so advanced. We even have lifestyle advice my mum or grandma wouldn’t have had.

“Instead of thinking I’m going to die young I’ve focused on looking after my body, feeling great, eating well – it’s all about owning it. Love your body and don’t fear it.”