Going through cancer treatment is a humbling experience.

In some of our recent videos or Zoom catch-ups, you may have noticed I have been wearing a cap or scarf. That’s because my head has been cold!


Because I recently lost most of my hair.

Carrie in a Zoom meeting with scarf on her head.

Last October, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A particularly aggressive (fast-growing) type that needed immediate treatment.

Oh, how my life changed with that diagnosis.

I went from being that person with the answers, the person who worked with others to help them meet compliance, educate their staff, or mentor them through an aged care audit…

…To a patient with an ‘HRN’ code. One of the many, many women and men who are being treated for cancer who need to learn a whole new language – the language of oncology.

In October of 2023 I didn’t have much knowledge of cancer and the treatment process. (I’m a lot more informed now.)

After all, I didn’t really need to know. I was in the lowest category of risk factors – female, over the age of 50, with breasts.

There was no history of cancer in my immediate family.

I limited my intake of alcohol to special occasions (and there weren’t that many weddings to attend, especially during the COVID years).

I have never smoked, I exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and I even follow a plant-based diet, which is known to help minimise the risk of cancers, as well as other lifestyle diseases.

I thought I was doing all the right things to limit my chances of contracting any lifestyle diseases – including cancer. And I was.

But it still wasn’t enough.

Unfortunately, we don’t know all the causes of cancer. Scientists have discovered environmental factors and viruses can trigger mutations to our DNA. I suspect that it was something like this that caused my cancer, but much more research is required.

Fortunately, as each person goes through the cancer journey, their background, reactions to cancer treatments, and outcomes are logged and used to increase our knowledge.

Research projects help identify ways to improve outcomes, and a diagnosis of cancer no longer carries with it such fear.

Mind you, the emotional journey, particularly at the start, is challenging… You are faced with all the ‘what if’s?’ and ‘why me’s?’.

Each year our understanding of cancer and how to effectively treat it increases.

A person I spoke to recently said she had originally been diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago, and after treatment she had enjoyed eight active years before the cancer unfortunately returned. She was optimistic though: “Eight years,” she told me, “is a long time in the cancer world when it comes to new and more effective treatments.”

This May, the Cancer Council of Australia encourages workplaces and groups to raise funds for research through the Biggest Morning Tea.

Cup of tea with tulips in the background

For those who are running these or have run them in the past, I want to thank you. Funds raised go towards improving our knowledge of cancer and effective ways to treat it.

I am benefiting from past research, and those diagnosed in the future will benefit from today’s studies.

The official date for the Biggest Morning Tea is 23rd May 2024, however, you can register to host a Biggest Morning Tea anytime through May and June.

Are you working with someone living with cancer and want to know how to support them?

CDCS specialises in developing easy-to-understand and practical resources. One suite of resources that is very popular for members of our Aged Care resource hub (the Total Quality Package) are the Assessment & Care Planning and Care Provision Guides. We have recently added Cancer to this suite.

However, in honour of the Biggest Morning Tea, we're giving away the Cancer Assessment and Care Planning Guide and the accompanying Cancer Care Provision Guide for free.

P.S. I also encourage all women, no matter your age, to stay vigilant on changes to your breast area and if you have any concerns get to your doctor ASAP to get it checked out.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Get A Free Sample Pack Of Our Resources

Tools designed to help you stay compliant

You have Successfully Subscribed!