AS a physiotherapist, 58-year-old Caron Mackenzie treats many women post-mastectomy, and now, having gone through this herself, she is more dedicated to helping women through this process. Mackenzie was diagnosed with stage 1 cancer when undergoing routine mammogram three years ago.“It was very deep and could not be felt – so thank goodness for a mammogram and a diligent radiologist,” she said.However, she said being in the medical profession she knew what she was in for. “I saw a surgeon and an oncologist and went with a long list of questions. I was offered a lumpectomy and 30 days of radiation or a mastectomy, which was my choice, however, research shows they have the same prognosis outcome. “In my field I have seen the side effects and also know that if breast cancer progresses it goes into the bone. “My tumour was very close to my rib, so for my own peace of mind, I opted for the mastectomy. Bear in mind, my cancer was early and not aggressive, or the doctors would have insisted on mastectomy, chemo and radiation.” She said during her treatment she did not find a support system and wants to set one up. “When one is diagnosed it is important to find information about your cancer, your management, should you have lumpectomy and radiation or mastectomy, what rehab is needed, where to find a bra and a prosthesis. And all of this information is not readily available. “All the details are vitally important, and if there were support groups readily available it would make the process easier to handle.”She said that at Hillcrest Hospital when she had her mastectomy she was the 29th lady that month to have undergone such surgery.She encouraged women who have undergone a similar fate to create a support group. Her message to families going through the same situation is: “Talk, ask questions. It is something that needs to be discussed with husbands too.”She said there is life afterwards. “Having breast cancer is not the end. Research is important, but google can be frightening, so always seek professional advice,” she added.