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Research Saved a Young Mum’s Life

It was a pain in her right breast, like that of a torn muscle, which led young mother Kate Shields to a breast cancer diagnosis that she never saw coming.

Kate Shields and family

“I randomly felt some pain and my right breast was really sore. I thought I had pulled a muscle, but because it felt quite big I went to my doctor to get it checked. She sent me off for a scan, and I knew when I was having it that something was terribly wrong,” Kate recounts.

“I was then recommended to have a mammogram and I just remember crying and crying through that, it was nothing I had ever experienced. The next day I was back having a biopsy before my doctor told me I had aggressive hormonal breast cancer. It was the size of a golf ball, but at that stage I didn’t have the option to have surgery.”

Going from being a young, active mum to her beautiful 5-year-old daughter Chloe, to then hearing she had aggressive breast cancer was a shock for Kate and her young family.

“The diagnosis was quite shocking for me. I just went from everything will be fine to well, it’s not. I could potentially die.

“Before we had all my tests, I had no idea if the cancer had spread, that was a whole week without knowing.”

Luckily for Kate, she caught her cancer early and it hadn’t spread yet. She began six months of gruelling chemotherapy before an operation to remove the tumour.

“After my six months of chemotherapy I had a follow up which showed the tumour had shrunk significantly. They took 18 lymph nodes during the surgery just for a precaution, and then after that I had radiotherapy.

“This all finished in September and I remember going to the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne and I had this clear bill of health – it felt amazing.

“Although it has been a very long journey, I’m only starting to feel good now.”

Despite going through an extremely difficult time, Kate is grateful to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with her loving husband and daughter this year having fought and beaten her breast cancer. It’s your support of lifesaving breast cancer research that continues to advance treatments and save the lives of Kat and so many others.

“Unfortunately, there’s so many other people that don’t get told they are cured, like I did,” Kate said.

“Breast cancer research is so important to me. I hope that by the time my daughter is a grown up, she won’t have to go through what I did. And I won’t have to go through what my mum went through supporting me, or what my husband went through with his mum who was also diagnosed with breast cancer.”