Be breast aware for this October

FIGHTER: Waitpinga woman Michelle Jackson was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and now wants to help those fighting the disease. Photo: Dani Brown.
FIGHTER: Waitpinga woman Michelle Jackson was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and now wants to help those fighting the disease. Photo: Dani Brown.

The past month has been a bit of a blur for Waitpinga woman Michelle Jackson.

After feeling tingling, itching and dull aching in her left breast at the start of September, she went to a doctor and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was found the healthy 48-year-old had substantial ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

“I had over 1000 DCIS cells, it looked like the Milky Way. It was really confronting,” she said.

“My first thought was for my children – I thought, ‘I’m not going anywhere’.”

Since then, she has had a mastectomy and three lymph nodes removed. She is currently waiting on more pathology results.

But she is taking the fight head-on, and while doing so she wants to make sure others don’t go through what she is currently going through.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Miss Jackson is holding a fundraiser this Sunday to help those fighting the good fight.

She learned a lot about the breast cancer team at Flinders Medical Centre while she was there, including how little support they received, so she decided she would help them. But Miss Jackson wants to educate other women at the same time, and so the event this Sunday, starting at 10am, was born.

“I thought, this has totally blindsided me, and I don’t want others to be blindsided,” she said.

She posted photos after her surgery to “shock people into telling their sister, aunty and friends to get a mammogram”.

Since that post last month, five of her loved ones have had mammograms.

“Something I can control is getting the word out there, the vigilance of regular checks,” she said.

She hoped businesses would get on board through donations for raffles so she could raise as much money as possible. “Research requires funding, and there’s still a lot to be learnt with treatment and prevention. It is so rife,” she said.

Miss Jackson urged people to regularly check their breasts, and if there were any abnormalities, they should be checked straight away.

She encouraged anyone with a recent diagnosis to take time to comprehend the diagnosis, and take the journey step by step – “don’t look too far ahead”, she said.