With a history of breast cancer in her family, Nicky has regular, routine mammograms to keep on top of her health.
“I had a call back soon after saying there were some calcifications,” Nicky said.
Nicky didn’t know what this means at the time. She learned these calcifications are small calcium deposits that develop in breast tissue which in some cases, suggest early breast cancer.
Just before Christmas, Nicky was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer on her left side.
After the cancer was removed and she thankfully received the all clear, Nicky was thorough with her self-exams. But she began feeling lumps in both breasts she’d never noticed before.
“In June 2016, after my regular mammogram and ultrasound, I was told there was an area of concern where my last breast cancer was. Within a week I had an appointment with a radiographer who said it’s nothing to worry about,” Nicky said.
“She then checked my other breast, which I didn’t think anything of and to my surprise she said ‘I’m really sorry, but I can see something’.”
Unfortunately, Nicky was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, and it was more invasive than the last.
Following her diagnosis, Nicky made the important decision to have a mastectomy. Soon after, she received some more unwelcome, terrifying news.
“The horrendous pathology response said it was far from being a small cancer. It was 4.8 cm and had spread significantly into my lymph nodes. I’m now at stage 3C breast cancer,” Nicky said.
“Unfortunately, the chances of it becoming stage 4 are huge because of the number and height of the lymph nodes the cancer has spread into.”
By supporting Australian Breast Cancer Research (ABCR), you will help us to continue funding advanced breast cancer happening right now in world-class research facilities like the Centre for Cancer Biology in South Australia.
This lifesaving research underway has the potential to stop the spread of breast cancer! And by supporting ABCR today, you ensure it can continue making progress for the people you love.
Because the reality is, metastatic breast cancer (cancer that spreads to other areas in the body) is usually more aggressive and with no cure, it’s the main cause of death from breast cancer.
Passionate researchers like Associate Professor Yeesim Khew-Goodall and her team are doing all they can to beat breast cancer and save more lives.
A/Prof Khew-Goodall is looking into what causes breast cancer and ways to stop it from spreading to other parts of the body, ultimately to stop the impact of this devastating disease on families like Nicky’s.
Her team at the Cell Signalling Laboratory have been looking at a signalling pathway that controls cell growth in cancer and have made some incredible findings that could be translated into potential treatments.
Their recent work has shown patients with a dysregulation of this pathway have increased chances of developing metastatic breast cancer.
“Interestingly, our studies also suggest that this group of breast cancer patients may be incompatible with current therapies or may relapse after initial response to treatment. We have now developed new methods for identifying this group of patients,” A/Prof Khew-Goodall said.
Click here to support research like A/Prof Khew-Goodall, who is making advancements to save lives