With a family history of breast cancer, Mornington resident and mother of two, Samantha Dickason was vigilant about checking her breasts for lumps. So she was shocked to be diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer in December last year.

On the day she was due to get her routine breast screening, Sam found a lump like a hard pea and quickly made an appointment with her GP, who sent her for a mammogram, ultrasound and a biopsy.

Sam couldn’t believe it when her GP gave her the results of the biopsy.

“It was pretty devastating as I’d obviously hoped for a different outcome. I just thought – I’m only 52 and I’ve got breast cancer,” recalled Sam.

Sam’s GP immediately referred her to breast surgeon, Dr Belinda Brown at The Bays, to have the tumour removed in December.
But within 2 hours of the surgery, Sam was in excruciating pain and they discovered a hematoma under her arm, so she was taken straight back in for more surgery.

“I spent 4 nights in hospital at The Bays and the nurses and staff were just amazing, as was Belinda – she came and visited me every day after the surgeries.”

“Two weeks after surgery I was told that it was grade 3 cancer so Belinda and my oncologist, Zee Wan Wong agreed that I needed both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”

“Unfortunately for me, the scalp cooling caps that can prevent hair loss wouldn’t seal properly on my head. So two weeks into chemo my hair started to fall out, which was awful.”

Sam completed four rounds of chemo and got very sick after the third round with terrible fatigue and muscle pain. And then she caught COVID-19, which delayed her last chemo treatment by 2 weeks.

Thankfully Sam had the support of McGrath Breast Care Nurses – Giselle, Rachel and Jo – who are based at The Bays, to guide her through this difficult time.

“During treatment, The Bays became my safe space as I saw the familiar faces of my incredible oncology nurses, the McGrath Breast Care Nurses, my oncologist and surgeon.”

Sam said that the free Look Good Feel Better workshop helped too, as she received some great tips to feel more confident and left feeling pampered.

“The Bays became my safe space. I knew the building and parking was easy! These sound like little things, but they greatly reduced the stress.”

“Because The Bays doesn’t yet provide radiation therapy, I had to travel to Frankston for this treatment and it was daunting and terrifying. It was also exhausting driving to and from Frankston every day for 15 days, and I was already fatigued from chemo treatment.”

“I would have loved to have had my radiation treatment at The Bays where I felt so comfortable. The new Cancer Care Centre that’s being built will be wonderful for cancer patients, to help them remain in that safe space.”

Sam recently completed her radiation therapy and will remain on hormone blocking treatment for 5-10 years. We wish her strength, hope and healing in this next chapter of her life.

While our Cancer Care Centre is on schedule for completion this August, we require more funding to achieve the fit-out.

Please Buy a Virtual Brick for Cancer Care as a tax-deductible donation, to help us bring much needed radiation oncology treatment to our Peninsula.

Buy a Virtual Brick for Cancer Care today