It was a huge surprise, we weren’t expecting it. There was no time for denial.

Following a routine breast check, a surprise diagnosis has led to potentially lifesaving treatment for a Melbourne mother.

Dianne’s regular review of a stable lump in her left breast quickly turned perilous when an aggressive cancer was detected in her right breast.

Everything suddenly moved very fast for Dianne.

“It was a huge surprise. We weren’t expecting it and there was no time for denial,” Dianne said.

“I saw Dr Chantel Thornton, two weeks before we were due to go to Europe. She knew straight away. The very next day she booked me in to have a biopsy on the breast and lymph node. Within five days I had an MRI and was prepping for a brain, body and bone scan.”

A week later, Dianne started chemotherapy in the Day Medical Unit at Epworth Richmond, under the supervision of medical oncologist Dr Yen Tran.

Dr Thornton performed a double mastectomy and plastic surgeon Dr Michael Weymouth inserted implants straight away.

When Dianne’s hair started to thin, she enrolled in the Look Good Feel Better program at the Epworth wig salon managed by volunteers.

“It was fantastic,” Dianne said.

“Everyone understands and everyone is in the same boat. I have already made a friend and we are catching up for lunch on Friday.”

Six months later, Dianne is on the road to recovery. She is planning a caravan trip with her husband, son and parents, heading to Darwin and down the east coast of Australia.

Dianne says she is grateful for the early diagnosis.

“We caught it early but it was very aggressive. If it wasn’t for the routine check on the left side, I would not have known.”

Dianne thanked those involved in her treatment, including the breast care nurses at Epworth, who explained everything and helped coordinate the multidisciplinary treatment team.

“It’s a horrible situation but the nurses made you feel so nice. They’ve got your back. They’ll come chat have a laugh. Even though they’re busy, they always have time," Dianne said.

To show their appreciation, Dianne’s husband baked treats for the nurses each week, while her mother lovingly hand knitted scarves for doctors and staff.

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection and diagnosis provide the best chance of survival. Find out more on our website and share this factsheet

Early breast cancer diagnosis is key - Epworth HealthCare

Dianne is pictured with Stephanie Fan, Nurse Unit Manager, Jade Salske, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Ellie Jeffries, Registered Nurse, Min Zhou, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Krista Brown, Associate Nurse Unit Manager, and Jacquelyn Livingston, Clinical Nurse Educator.


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