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Anke had no family history of breast cancer. She had just given birth to her baby girl, Tess, and was completely smitten with her. When Tess was three months old Anke took her to the doctor for her vaccinations. In passing, Anke mentioned that she had noticed a lump in her armpit. Her doctor thought it was probably mastitis, which is common and harmless as she was breast-feeding but ran tests just to be sure. Anke couldn't believe the results. Her ultrasound and biopsy confirmed that the lump was in fact a malignant tumor.
"All the safety and security that you have ever had in your life is gone within moments. You just feel utterly bereft of a future."
BREAST CANCER IS NOW IN MY FAMILY
Anke received chemotherapy, then radiotherapy. Thanks to past breast cancer research, she remains free of cancer today.
Understandably, it took many years before Tess had a grasp of what had happened to her mum. Recently she asked Anke, "Will I get it?" and Anke had to tell her that it could happen.
"Because no woman is completely without risk. Every woman can get breast cancer whether you have a family history or not."
Now Anke and Tess are dedicated fundraisers who recently completed the City2Surf together. Tess would like to leave a message for anyone whose life has been affected by breast cancer.
"Be brave and still have hope that it's going to be ok."
Anke didn't have a family history of breast cancer, but she was diagnosed. Her daughter, Tess, now does have a direct family history of breast cancer. Breast cancer can happen to anyone, whether they have a family history or not. So please, check your breasts and be vigilant. And continue to support research into breast cancer. It is research that will keep mothers and daughters together.