Breast cancer survivor shares powerful message of early detection

Five years ago, Gold Coast local Laraine Crane was lying on her couch one night when she noticed something that would change her life forever.

Laraine was 46-year-old when she noticed an unusual lump on her left breast, so she made the proactive decision to visit her doctor the following day.

It was that day Laraine’s worst nightmare became her reality. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was very lucky we found the cancer when we did as it was a very aggressive form of breast cancer.”

Laraine’s initial treatment included a mastectomy on her left breast, chemotherapy and radiation.

“I didn’t get time to stop and think as I was operated on nearly straight away,” she said.

“Halfway through my treatment I also had a mastectomy on my right breast.”

Laraine has always been very passionate about encouraging others to have their regular checkups.

Following her diagnosis, Laraine decided to start a Facebook page to educate family and friends on the importance of being breast aware.

“I have always been very mindful of my body and would always check my breasts,” she said.

“Before I started my journey, I never had Facebook or anything like that.

“The page started with the hope to convince people to go for their mammograms.

I ask people to learn how to check their breasts and ask a doctor if they aren’t sure.

Laraine is now cancer free and still incredibly passionate about raising awareness around women’s health.

She is encouraging all eligible Queensland women to keep up-to-date with their cancer screenings this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“No one wants to go through breast cancer and that is why it is so important to catch any unusual changes early and to keep on top of your health,” she said.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Queensland women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). The approximate lifetime risk of a Queensland woman to be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85 is one in seven.

Early detection saves lives

Women should consult their GP if they notice a persistent lump, lumpiness or thickening of their breast, changes to the nipple or discharge, any change to the shape, feel, size or colour of the breast, dimpling, puckering, or any unusual breast pain.

Women aged between 50 and 74 are encouraged to have a mammogram every two years to screen for breast cancer. To find out more about this free service you can call BreastScreen Queensland on 13 20 50.

If you, or a loved one, is affected by breast cancer, you don’t have to face it alone – we’re here to help. You can call our Cancer Council Information and Support line on 13 11 20.