Indigenous breast cancer survivor

I am identified Indigenous Australian. One day when I lay down on the bed after a hard day at work, I found a little bean-like thing in my breast. Due to my mom had the history, I went to the hospital. The next day I got a mammography and ultrasound. When I waited for the result I could not fall asleep, lost the appetite to have diet. I was told it was stage IIA cancer after one week. The doctor advised me to do the gene test firstly and make the decision as soon as possible to prevent spread of cancer cells. I was aggressive to receive the treatment at that time but I wanted to survive. My ethic background of breast cancer is related to the spiritual world of curses, which is a form of punishment caused by some misdeed the person had done in the past. I was thought the little thing just a cyst instead of the cancer. I thought survival from breast cancer means spending money. Therefore, when my mom diagnosed breast cancer, she has not to receive any treatment and has felt a sense of shame. Finally, I decided to fight with the cancer. I was such a fear of being ‘cut-up’ by surgery, because it is viewed as a violation of the ‘sacred body’ in my culture. I was also feeling lost, helpless. I did lumpectomy firstly, then chemotherapy, radiation, and tamoxifen . When I woke up from anaesthesia, I looked down at my breast, thank goodness, there was only a scar on my breast. When I just felt a little better from the surgery, I kew my gene test result was BRCA1 Positive, and I was told that I should consider prophylactic mastectomy to reduce the risk of cancer re-development. I could not use the word to express how helpless and upset I was at that time. I decided to receive a mastectomy because I want to reduce the risk. Thanks for people helping with me. The chemotherapy was horrible for me. However, many people around gave me courage to overcome it. Therefore,I am here to encourage more Indigenous women with breast cancer, we should do some thing to overcome it for our qualitative life. I did the mastectomy for both side for preventing the cancer cells re-development. I am not fear now. I think we should confront the cancer directly, and overcome it! Hope everyone suffered from cancer could have a qualitative life.