Life after breast cancer

2017-11-07 06:00
PHOTO: SuppliedBelinda Duffield was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal breast cancer in April.

PHOTO: SuppliedBelinda Duffield was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal breast cancer in April.

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A WATERFALL resident, 45-year-old Belinda­ Duffield was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal breast cancer in April.

According to Duffield she felt a “rippled” area on her breast during a self-examination.

“This was a shock, but I was open with my family and friends from the start. This was something I did not want to go through on my own.

“My husband is my rock and helped me get through the hard times. My daughters are 11 and 14 and they were happy to be ‘kept in the loop’. I told them there would be no whispering behind closed doors. I think they appreciated the honesty.”

She said she has a good support system of family and friends as well as her church.

“Believing that God is bigger than my cancer has helped me tremendously.

“I recently joined the Kloof Cancer Support group. It is good to be able to meet with fellow cancer survivors. We may have had different diagnoses and treatments, but they understand the ups and downs of being touched by this disease.”

Duffield had a lumpectomy in May and 30 radiation­ sessions in June and July.

“I was lucky to have forward lying [prone] radiation. It is a safer position for the heart and lungs. This is not common and not available at all radiation centres. The radiation process itself is quick and painless, but burning of the area as well as general fatigue is common.

“I was so relieved to hear I did not need chemotherapy. The tumour was sent for the Oncotype­ DX test which showed I had a low risk of recurrence and that I would not benefit from chemotherapy.

“The tumour is hormone positive, I will be on hormone-blocker injections and tablets for at least the next five years.”

She said that early breast cancer detection is key.

“Give yourself a fighting chance. Self-examination as well as mammograms are important. The 3D mammography that is available now has lower radiation doses.

“If diagnosed, educate yourself on the different treatment options and be actively involved in your treatment plan. Be kind to yourself. You will have bad days - it is okay, just pick yourself up as soon as you can and keep moving forward.”

Give yourself a fighting chance. Self-examination as well as mammograms are important. The 3D mammography that is available now has lower radiation doses.

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